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Blotter: Trial to begin for vehicular manslaughter case which left 2 children dead, 1 injured

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  • Kyle Martin
  • Julian Gill

Luis Bonilla's jury trial is set to begin 9 a.m. Monday in Judge Jonathan Bailey's 431st Judicial District Court. 

Bonilla, 37, is accused of starting a multi-car crash on Feb. 6, 2016, while driving his Ford F-350 on East University Drive near Mayhill Road. According to a Denton police arrest affidavit, he struck a Nissan minivan while traveling between 65 and 70 mph, resulting in the deaths of 8-year-old Edgar De Luna and 11-year-old Lesly De Luna, both from Whitesboro. Another minivan passenger, a 4-year-old boy, was severely injured in the wreck.

Bonilla faces two counts of manslaughter and a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Assistant District Attorneys Michael Graves and Sarah Wood will be prosecuting the case.

Luis BonillaCourtesy photo
Luis Bonilla
Courtesy photo

Graves said jury selection will begin Monday with testimony slated for Tuesday. Dozens of subpoenas have been issued to Denton police officers, firefighters and medical experts.

Denton police say they believe Bonilla was making a phone call before the crash. His lawyer, Derek Adame, also could not be reached for comment, but he told the Denton Record-Chronicle in June that the crash was an accident.

"Mr. Bonilla was involved in a terrible accident, and we believe that the evidence will bear that out," Adame said at the time.

During the crash, the force of the impact caused the minivan to strike a nearby Dodge Dakota pickup, which then struck a Kia passenger car. After striking the minivan, Bonilla's truck veered across East University Drive, struck a concrete light pole and stopped in the nearby RaceTrac parking lot, his arrest affidavit said. No one in the Dakota or Kia was injured.

Bonilla was indicted on two counts of manslaughter on Sept. 29, 2016, and eventually was arrested on the charges May 11. He was released from Denton City Jail the same day after posting $25,000 bail for each of the two charges.

Other reports

Intersection of Teasley Lane and Pennsylvania Drive — A 17-year-old boy was arrested on Friday while in possession of greater than or equal to 400 grams of a controlled substance, less than 28 grams of another controlled substance and less than two ounces of marijuana, according to a Denton police report. 

He was arrested near the intersection about 11:15 a.m. Friday. 

No other information was immediately available on Saturday. 

1100 block of East Mulberry Street — A 24-year-old man was arrested for allegedly hitting a fence and fleeing the scene, Denton police reported on Friday. 

He was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated with an open container of alcohol and failure to act on duty after striking a highway fixture valued greater than or equal to $200, according to a police report. 

A victim reportedly saw the man hit the fence and flee. Police later located and arrested him near the scene of the crash. 

The State of Texas and a 23-year-old woman were named as victims in the report. 

Roundup

Between 6 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Saturday, Denton police responded to 149 calls for service, made 15 arrests, filed 28 charges, including 8 felonies and 18 misdemeanor charges. Denton police filed 24 reports online.