KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It's been just over two weeks since a hit and run crash on Washington Pike in Knoxville killed Nelson Soto, Sr., Chasity Thornell and her unborn daughter.
Curtis Harper faces multiple charges in the crash, including vehicular homicide and DUI.
The Sotos and Thornells are gearing up for a difficult day Monday, when they expect to see Harper face to face in court. But Sunday will also be very hard on them.
Sunday is Father's Day and this will be the first year Nelson Soto's five children will be without their dad. Elbia Soto explained how her family used to celebrate the day:
"Stay together, cook, give him presents. He liked lotions, perfumes - this I would buy every year because he liked it," Soto said.
But this year, she said they'll be buying flowers.
"We'll take flowers to the cemetery," said Soto.
She said her youngest son, 5-year-old Jose, still doesn't understand that his dad isn't coming home.
"He says, 'Is Father back Monday or Tuesday?' He says, 'Momma call my Daddy now - he'll answer the phone now.' I say 'He'll never answer the phone, baby'. He says, 'Momma, please,'" explained Soto.
The Sotos, along with Thornell's family, are also preparing for Monday when they'll see the man accused of killing their loved ones for the first time. Curtis Harper has been out on bond since last Friday.
"The kid that murdered my sister - he gets to spend father's day with his dad and mom and everybody. And my mom and I are sitting here suffering. It's just not fair," said Chad Thornell, Chasity's brother.
He said his sister helped him through the unexpected death of their dad five years ago - and like Elbia Soto, he said this Father's Day will be especially hard on him.
"My sister was here for me a lot. She was - you know, she was always someone I went to to talk with and she was always there to help me through problems like that. Now I don't have her. It's going to be rough," said Thornell.
Memorial funds are set up for both families. Nelson Soto Sr.'s is set up at SunTrust bank, while Thornell's is at TVA Credit Union.
Harper is charged with three counts each of Vehicular Homicide by Intoxication and Vehicular Homicide by Reckless Endangerment.
The 22 year-old also faces two DUI charges, and one charge each of Tampering with Evidence, Failing to Render Aid after an Accident, and Reckless Endangerment.
Authorities believe he was behind the wheel of of the SUV that struck and killed Nelson Soto, Sr., Chasity Thornell, and her unborn child.
Harper had previous run ins with the law. According to the Grand Jury Indictment, he was arrested on a DWI in April of 2009.
Authorities also said Harper was arrested for possessing drug paraphernalia following a traffic stop in Knox Co. last year, but charges were dismissed. In 2008, he was convicted of theft of property under $500 in Franklin, according to the Williamson Co. Sheriff's Office. His sentence was suspended after serving 48 hours at the Williamson Co. Jail.
Soto had reportedly just finished helping Thornell and another woman who had run out of gas in front of his home early in the morning last Wednesday when they were hit. Thornell was seven months pregnant.
Police reported they found pieces of Harper's 2004 Ford Explorer at the scene of the crash on Washington Pike early that morning. Traces of blood, skin and hair were also found on the car during the search. The car is registered to his parents, Pam and Herb Harper of Franklin, TN.
The warrant also claimed witnesses told police Harper admitted "He hit someone on the side of the road."
Harper graduated from the University of Tennessee in May 2012. He majored in Plant Sciences, with a concentration in Landscape Architecture and Design.