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Suspect in fatal wreck receives additional charge ahead of trial

Luis Bonilla faces an additional charge of aggravated assault from a fatal 2016 wreck that left two children dead and one severely injured.

A Denton County grand jury indicted 37-year-old Bonilla on the charge Thursday. He now faces two counts of manslaughter as well as the aggravated assault charge. His case is slated for a jury trial on Aug. 21 in Judge Jonathan Bailey's 431st Judicial District Court.

Luis BonillaCourtesy photo
Luis Bonilla
Courtesy photo

Bonilla is accused of initiating a multi-car accident on Feb. 6, 2016, while driving his Ford F-350 on 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 death 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.

Police said the three children were not secured in safety belts or child safety seats at the time. The female driver of the Nissan minivan and a male passenger were treated for minor injuries.

A Denton police traffic investigator said in the arrest affidavit that he believes Bonilla was in the process of making a phone call just before the crash. But Bonilla's lawyer, Denton attorney Derek Adame, said the incident was an accident and nothing more.

"Mr. Bonilla was involved in a terrible accident, and we believe that the evidence will bear that out," Adame said. "And, in fact, his action wasn't a criminal action but an accident."

Police estimated that Bonilla struck the minivan, which had been stopped at a red light at the intersection, while traveling 68 mph. The posted speed limit in that area is 55 mph, police said in the affidavit.

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

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

The new aggravated assault charge stems from the 4-year-old passenger in the minivan being injured in the accident, according to Jamie Beck, Denton County first assistant district attorney.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.