$400K bond set for tow truck driver charged with manslaughter after crash killed 6-month-old baby

The tow truck driver who crashed into a car and killed a 6-month-old baby is now facing felony charges. 

Jose Luna, 39, appeared in court Monday charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault. 

Sheriff: Baby killed by speeding tow truck driver in northwest Harris County

The accident happened around 10:15 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of West Little York and Cunningham in northwest Harris County. 

Authorities say Jose Luna, 39, was driving a black Ford F-450 tow truck eastbound in the 12000 block of West Little York Road with a beige Toyota Corolla attached to the wheel lift in the back. 

Investigators say Luna was speeding when he slammed into the back of a Nissan stopped at a red light. The impact caused all three vehicles to end up in a ditch. 


According to court records, 21-year-old Melvin Romero, 19-year-old Esbeidy Linares, and 6-month-old Ulysses Romero were inside the Nissan that was rear-ended. Ulysses was sent to the hospital but later died. 

Jose Luna has a criminal history, tracing back more than 20 years. Luna has previously served time in prison for sexually assaulting a minor under 14 and felony drug possession. 

According to a spokesperson with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Luna's been a state-licensed tow truck operator for nearly five years. 

"We are very careful when considering whether to issue a license to someone, especially when they have a criminal conviction history. We think it’s really important to make sure the public is protected, while at the same time ensuring that someone who is trying to do better in their life and become a better person, that they’re able to get a job," said Tela Mange, a TDLR spokesperson.  


Mange says every applicant with a criminal record is closely reviewed.

"We’ll look at the age of the person when they committed the crime, the seriousness of the offense, how long has it been since they had been convicted of that crime and have they reoffended?"

"This particular gentleman had a conviction for sex assault from 20 plus years ago and there was a conviction for possession of a controlled substance from about 10-12 years ago. It had been several years. He had not as far as we knew, reoffended. He had not been back in the system for that and he met the other criteria, so we decided to go ahead and give him a license," said Mange. 

"The question that we have, from our perspective, is how many other Jose Lunas are out there that are registered sex offenders or violent offenders that have been approved to work as a tow truck driver," said Andy Kahan with Crimestoppers. 


Authorities don’t believe alcohol or drugs played a factor in this crash.

Classic Towing, the company that Jose Luna worked for, says Luna has since been fired. 

Bond for Lunas was at a total of $400,000; $250,000 for the manslaughter charge, and $150,000 for the aggravated assault charge. As part of his bond, he may not use or possess alcohol or illegal substances. He may also not drive without the permission of the court. He also can't travel outside of Harris County without permission of the court. He also can't contact or communicate with the victim's household or family.