Driver responsible for Ella Formby’s death sentenced

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2014

The defendant in the DUI manslaughter of Ella Formby pleaded guilty to three charges and received a total sentence of 30 years.

According to a press release from the 15th District Attorney’s office, 34-year-old Deborah Arkinco Ball Patton pleaded guilty to one count of DUI manslaughter for the death of 5-year-old Ella Formby when she rear ended a car driven by Lourie Formby and to two counts of DUI mayhem for injuries suffered by the parents.

Previous stories in the Item state the vehicle was occupied by Lourie, Ella and Lourie’s wife Julie when Patton’s vehicle rear-ended the Formby vehicle, forcing it off the road on January 25, 2013. Ella died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident, which occurred on Miss. Highway 44 in Marion County.

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“The Formby’s have bravely turned this tragedy into an opportunity to share their faith and honor Ella’s memory through their children’s ministry, Ella’s Light,” Kittrell said.

Mark Formby, Lourie’s brother, said the Formby family was not present at the trial because they had a prior engagement in New Orleans to promote the ministry.

“We know that nothing the court does will bring Ella back or any satisfaction to the family,” Mark Formby said. “We allowed the system to work and it has worked.”

Instead the family used that time to prepare for a fundraiser for Ella’s Light Ministry set for today in Picayune.

“We decided it was more important to promote the ministry,” Mark Formby said.

The sentencing closes another chapter in the family’s efforts to move past the tragedy, Mark Formby said.

“This is the next big step that has come and gone; we’ll move on a little bit more,” Mark Formby said.

While the trial was set for a week from Monday, the family and Patton came to an agreement on sentencing should a guilty plea be entered, which took place Friday afternoon, Kittrell said. As a result of the plea, Patton was sentenced to 20 years for the DUI manslaughter charge for the death of Ella, and 10 years each for two charges of DUI mayhem for the injuries Lourie and Julie suffered in the accident. Kittrell said all three terms will be served consecutively.

“We decided that was the best way to proceed in (Ella’s) memory,” Kittrell said.

Patton will also have to pay $14,000 in restitution to the family and court costs.

Ella’s Light Ministry will be holding a 5K/10K/1mile run at Jack Read Park 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday May 10. Visit for more information.