HOLDEN, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – A Holden man pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and multiple other charges connected to a fatal wreck last May that claimed the life of a Louisiana State Police trooper from Livingston Parish, according to District Attorney Scott Perrilloux.
Nathan Anding, 19, was sentenced to 12.5 years with the department of corrections for his involvement in a high-speed chase through Hammond in the early-morning hours of May 20, 2020.
George Baker, a state trooper from Albany, was struck in the crash as officers pursued Anding and another suspect, Taylor Cox. Baker died four days later, leaving behind a wife, a daughter, his parents, sisters, and other extended family members.
“Multiple family members, friends, and fellow Louisiana State Troopers were present to support the plea and sentencing of Nathan Anding,” Perrilloux said in a statement.
According to the Hammond Police Department, the chase began when an officer spotted a “suspicious” grey Chevrolet in the parking lot in the 2700 block of West Thomas Street. The officer tried to pull over the driver, who then took off at “a high rate of speed.”
The driver of the vehicle, Anding, refused to pull over as officers witnessed him “toss items from the vehicle and commit several traffic violations” during the miles-long pursuit, Perrilloux said.
Louisiana State Police Troopers eventually assisted other law enforcement officers in an attempt to stop Anding’s vehicle by placing spike strips across Wardline Road.
The tires on Anding’s vehicle were disabled as he crossed the deflation device, but when two of the troopers went to retrieve the equipment, they were struck by the Hammond police officer’s unit also involved in the chase, officials said.
Baker and the other officer were transported to North Oaks Medical Center. While the other officer was later released with minor injuries, Baker remained “in critical condition.”
A lifelong resident of Albany who was described as a devoted husband and father who loved spending time with his family, Baker ultimately passed away on May 24, 2020.
Baker, a military veteran, became the first trooper to die in the line of duty since Steven Vincent in August 2015, according to authorities. He was also the 30th trooper to lose his life in the line of duty in the history of Louisiana State Police.
News of Baker’s passing swept through Louisiana and particularly in Albany, where he starred as a multi-sport athlete before graduating with the Class of 2005.
Baker’s funeral service featured remarks from many speakers who spoke on his “selfless service” during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps, the Greensburg Police Department, the St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s Department, and ultimately Louisiana State Police.
Among the speakers were Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves, Troop L Commander Capt. John Riles, Trooper Joseph Drago, St. Helena Parish Sheriff Nathaniel Williams, former Greensburg Mayor Burke Jones, and Stephanie Smith, Baker’s sister.
Baker’s State Police number “L-36” was also retired during the ceremony.
Following the ceremony, a convoy of motorcycles, police cars and SUVs, and fire trucks led Baker’s body to Lighthouse Baptist Church, where he was a “dedicated member.” Hundreds of first responders led a procession for Baker the University Center in Hammond to the church in Independence.
The procession — which took a full 40 minutes to travel less than a mile down Hwy. 3234 in Hammond — drew people of all ages to pay their respects to Baker, who also donated his organs in “his last act of selfless service.”
Gatherings could be found in Hammond, Albany, and Independence.
Following the events and investigation, a warrant was issued for Anding’s arrest. He was later located and transported to Tangipahoa Parish Jail without incident.
Anding appeared in 21st Judicial District Court on Monday.
In addition to negligent homicide, he pleaded guilty to aggravated obstruction of a highway, aggravated criminal damage to property, obstruction of justice, aggravated flight from an officer where a human life is endangered, driving while intoxicated – controlled dangerous substance – first offense, simple battery, operating a vehicle without a driver’s license, and improper use of registration/license plate/license.
Assistant District Attorney Angel Monistere and Jennie Perkins represented the State of Louisiana. Judge Charlotte Foster handed down the sentence.