Pregnant widow's grief put to words in CRMC tech killing

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The grief of a pregnant widow was put to words as a DUI driver learned her punishment for killing a Community Regional Medical Center radiology tech.

"On August 14, 2014, my life forever changed," Megan Harkenrider wrote in a letter to the judge preparing to sentence her husband's killer.

46-year-old Roberta Soto admitted to being under the influence when she crashed a stolen car and killed Megan's husband, 26-year-old Matthew Harkenrider.

We found out some new details Thursday as Soto was about to be sentenced. It turns out she was driving faster than 80 mph as she ran a red light and crossed a busy intersection. Her crime will cost her 13 years, but for Harkenrider's family and friends, it cost so much more.

Matthew Harkenrider's laugh was contagious and his smile was magnificent, according to his widow Megan. And in the days before his death, he was smiling a lot. Megan found out she was pregnant six days earlier.

"We shared six days of pure excitement and joy over this new addition to our family before the world came crashing down on me," Megan wrote.

Roberta Soto brought about that crash. She'd stolen an SUV in Selma, gotten high on meth, and barreled through a red light during the morning rush hour. Six people were injured. Matthew Harkenrider was killed.

"Before I left for work that morning, I hugged and kissed my husband Matthew goodbye like it was any other morning," Megan wrote. "Little did I know that would be the last time I would ever be able to do so. If I would've known that less than 30 minutes after the two of us said goodbye, he would be involved in a horrific accident that took his life, I would've hugged him a little tighter and never let him go."

As a victim's advocate read her words in court, Megan Harkenrider couldn't hold back the tears. She came to court with dozens of friends and family members as support -- including Matthew's twin brother -- but as she approaches her delivery date there's a certain loneliness, a hole where her partner should be.

"It is a type of pain that I would never wish upon anybody else and its intensity has only multiplied as this nightmare I've been living has slowly become my reality," Megan wrote.

Soto didn't speak for herself, but her attorney said she's extremely remorseful. She'll serve a 13-year sentence, which is nearly the maximum for a case like this and a driver with no prior DUI convictions.

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