By Jeremy Pittari, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
An accident that occurred on Mississippi Highway 44 near Sumrall on Jan. 25, led to the death of the niece of a local representative.
Rep. Mark Formby said his family suffered a great loss when his 5-year-old niece, Ella Marie Formby, died on Feb. 4, after spending more than a week in a coma caused by injuries she suffered in an accident caused by an alleged drunk driver.
Cpl. Todd Miller with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said the accident occurred on Jan. 25, at about 8:25 p.m. while the Formby family was headed east on Miss. Hwy. 44 driving a 1940s Chevrolet car. At that time another vehicle, also heading east, driven by 33-year-old Debra Patton of Columbia, rear-ended the Formbys vehicle, causing it to leave the road and flip over on the driver’s side, Miller said.
The driver of the Formby vehicle, 48-year-old Lourie Formby, and his wife, 44-year-old Julie Formby, both of Sumrall, were in the front of the vehicle at the time of the accident while Ella Formby sat in the rear, Miller said. The family was transported to Forrest General Hospital for treatment of their injuries, Miller said.
Patton suffered minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital where officers obtained a search warrant to draw blood to test for intoxicating substances, Miller said. That test led to her being charged with DUI mayhem in addition to driving while license suspended, Miller said.
Mark Formby said his niece spent 10 days in the hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Children’s Hospital before succumbing to her injuries.
“The last thing he (Lourie) heard her saying (before the accident) was, ‘That moon’s still following us Daddy’,” Mark Formby told the Picayune Item after Ella’s passing.
Attorney Hal Kittrell said that with the passing of Ella Formby, his office has upgraded Patton’s charges to aggravated death by DUI, and they are checking into the possibility of adding charges of DUI mayhem for the injuries Lourie and Julie Formby suffered during the accident. Kittrell said Patton is being held in the Marion County jail on a $100,000 bond.