Family of 5-month-old baby killed in tow truck crash seeks justice: 'Nothing can get my son back'

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A 5-month-old baby was killed in a crash in northwest Harris County over the weekend, after police say a tow truck slammed into the back of a car, where he was in.

"I only got to see my son for five months," Melvin Romero, the boy's father, said. "He didn't get to walk on grass. He didn't get to enjoy any of it. How am I going to wake up and not see him? I woke up this morning and cried."

Romero was on the way to his parents' house on Sunday morning. He was driving, while his wife, Esbeidy Linares, was sitting in the backseat next to their son, Ulysses Romero.

At 10:15 a.m., the family was stopped at a red light on West Little York and Cunningham when police say a tow truck, carrying another car, slammed into them. Officials said there is no indication the driver, Jose Luna, tried to use his brakes before the crash.

SEE ALSO: Tow truck driver involved in crash that killed baby faces vehicular manslaughter charge

The strong impact pushed them into a ditch. As a result of the crash, little Ulysses died at the hospital and his mother is undergoing surgery at Memorial Hermann but is expected to be OK.

"He was unconscious when I picked him out of the car seat and my wife couldn't breathe," Romero recalled. "It was hard because I had to take him out and I didn't know what to do."

Luna has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. He appeared before a judge on Monday and bail was set to a combined $400,000. His bail for the manslaughter charge was set to $250,000 and bail for the aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury was set to $150,000.

In court, the defense argued that there's no evidence the driver was going above the speed limit and asked for the bond to be set at $10,000 for each charge.

"Even if you go the speed limit, you can't kill them," the judge said. "It's funny the argument is there is no evidence, he was driving at a high rate of speed but his vehicle was totaled. It takes a lot to total a high-end truck."

Luna has a record and was charged in 2000 with sexual assault of a child and later sentenced to five years behind bars. In 2011, he was sentenced to six months in jail for a drug-related charge.

Romero and his family want justice for their baby boy and want the driver to be held responsible.

"Nothing can get my son back, but I just want justice for him and to get what he deserves. And (I want) for everyone to pray for my wife," Romero said.

ABC13 reached out to, Classic Towing LLC, the company Luna was driving for. An attorney for the company confirmed Luna has since been fired and said the drivers have to go through three different background checks: through the state, the city, and the insurance company, in order to get licensed.

In this instance, the attorney said Luna's criminal history does not include traffic violations.
"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family. The company is conducting its investigation and will comment after the investigation is completed," a statement read.

Bryan Miller, a mayoral appointee city's Automotive Dealers Review Board, is a stockholder in the towing company. The attorney for Classic Towing LLC said, "Mr. Miller played no role in the approval of the driver's tow truck license with the city of Houston."

The mayor's office also sent the following statement to ABC13:

"The driver did not serve on the Automotive Commission. Mr. Miller was appointed to serve. Regardless of the driver's record, no one should be speeding and driving recklessly on Houston streets. It is unfortunate that someone was harmed and tragically died as a result."

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

For updates on this story, follow Brooke Taylor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.