Victim of fatal NYE crash laid to rest: 'It's not fair'

The victim of a deadly New Year's Eve crash was laid to rest on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Family members said goodbye to 36-year-old Arthur "A.J." Baker while still coming to grips with the many questions lingering in the case.

Arthur "A.J." Baker

Baker was laid to rest at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery. Through the many tombstones, you can see the intersection of 60th and Burleigh where Baker was struck.

Baker's 14-year-old daughter, Shawntavia, is still processing the nightmare that closed 2020, ripping her family apart.

Arthur "A.J." Baker with his daughter, Shawntavia

"He was always a positive person no matter what, and that...that was what I liked about him most," said Shawntavia.

Surveillance video from 60th and Burleigh showed an SUV barreling through the intersection and red light -- striking three other vehicles, and Baker as he crossed the street.

Fatal crash near 60th and Burleigh

"He sat there and waited for the crosswalk to come on and walked across the street and this guy just comes out of nowhere. It’s not fair," Latisha London, Baker's sister, said.

Police said the vehicle that struck Baker was driven by 24-year-old George Reel. Prosecutors say Reel was convicted in connection to a fatal hit-and-run nearly five years ago and was sentenced to a year in prison. Court records show the judge stayed that sentence and gave him 18 months probation.

George Reel

In August 2020, Reel pleaded not guilty to two felony charges in a separate case. He posted bond and was ordered to not drive as a condition of his release.

"This guy has killed somebody before in 2016 – he was on bond for hitting someone else in August. I don’t understand how he’s out," said London.

Arthur "A.J." Baker

Family members say Baker loved to learn and studied architecture at MATC. It is now Baker's daughter who is trying to build a life -- without dad.

"Appreciate your dads while they are still alive – no matter what," Shawntavia said.

Shawntavia Baker

Reel's preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 14. He faces four felonies in Baker's death. Cash bond was set at $100,000.

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