BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The family of Jaime Herrera Garcia feels like it’s been stuck in a nightmare since July 1.
That’s the day Garcia, 36, was killed by a drunken driver.
His wife, Lidia Soto, said in court Wednesday her husband died two weeks before their daughter turned 5. Their little girl is different now, she said. She has attachment issues and frequently asks about heaven.
It’s not just her daughter, Soto said. Everything has changed.
“(Garcia) was the love of my life, the absolute love of my life,” she said through tears. “He was everything to me.”
Alexzander Pacheco, the man charged in Garcia’s death, was sentenced to six years in prison following comments from Soto and other family members. He pleaded no contest last month to gross vehicular manslaughter and carrying a concealed firearm in public.
“I’d like to say I’m very sorry for what I’ve done,” Pacheco, 22, told the Garcia family. He said he wishes he could go back and make a different decision and not get behind the wheel.
“I know you feel the pain so much more than I do,” he said.
The crash happened at 2:56 a.m. at the intersection of Belle Terrace and South H Street. Police found a green Honda Civic with major front end damage facing southeast in the northbound left turn lane, and a silver Honda Civic, its passenger side smashed, in a parking lot on the southeast corner.
Garcia, the driver of the silver car, was taken to Kern Medical, where a doctor determined he suffered skull fractures, bleeding on the brain and damage to a carotid artery that caused a “severe stroke.” He died after being removed from a ventilator on July 10.
Pacheco, the driver of the green Honda, had been traveling 69 mph — nearly twice the posted 35 mph speed limit — at the time of the crash, police said. Toxicology tests showed his blood-alcohol content was 0.12%, above legal limit of 0.08%.
After imposing sentence, Judge Charles R. Brehmer told Garcia’s family their husband, brother, son was “clearly” a good person.
“There are not a lot of good men all the way around,” Brehmer said. “There are a lot of people who do a good thing, but not like Jaime. Jaime was a good man.”
He doesn’t have any words of wisdom as to how to move forward while dealing with the pain of Garcia’s death, Brehmer said, but he told them his goodness, the memories he left them, should be treasured.
The judge called Garcia’s death a “complete tragedy, completely unnecessary.” He told Pacheco that, once released, he hopes he lives his life in a way that honors the man he killed.