I-Team: Repeat offender? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

I-Team: Repeat offender?

Posted: Updated:
Justin Ellis Justin Ellis
ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) -

A deadly wreck that rocked the small town of St. Francisville once again has people talking. The driver of that vehicle is facing his 2nd offense DWI, but he may only be charged with his first offense.

"Very traumatic. It's still talked about even 9-10 years later," said West Feliciana Parish Sheriff Austin Daniels.

August 4, 2004: it's a day still fresh on the minds of many in St. Francisville. Three teenagers were killed after a deadly crash on Highway 61. All were passengers in a car Justin Ellis, then 17, was driving. One of the victims was his own sister. Two of the three families chose not to press charges so prosecutor Sam D'Aquilla proceeded with trying to charge him with one count.

"He didn't have any alcohol or drugs in his system so he was not charged with vehicular homicide," said D'Aquilla.

The DA then pursued a negligent homicide charge. That too did not hold up because Ellis confessed to falling asleep behind the wheel and hitting a guardrail.

"You have to prove that he acted below the reasonable standard of care of a prudent person, and the courts of appeal have said falling asleep at the wheel is not below the standard of care for a prudent person," said D'Aquilla.

Ultimately, Ellis was charged with one count of reckless driving. His 90-day jail sentence was suspended and Ellis had to serve out a two-year probation with the terms being not driving anywhere but to and from work or for an emergency.

"However his probation was revoked at a later date," said D'Aquilla.

It revoked when he was found driving around the Mall of Louisiana. Then in May of 2006, West Feliciana deputies pulled over Ellis for swerving through lanes and also charged him with his first offense DWI. But D'Aquilla said Ellis' blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit which reduced the charge.

"His blood-alcohol level was .008, which is well below the .02 standard so it was amended to reckless operation, and he pled guilty to that," said D'Aquilla.

Then on January 4th, deputies pulled over Ellis again charging him with a number of charges including his 2nd offense DWI. But because his first DWI did not hold up in 2006, D'Aquilla said this will now be his first.

"We're going to treat him as severe as we can. DWI's are a growing concern for our office especially in light of what happened in East Feliciana Parish last summer," said D'Aquilla.

The DA tells 9News because Ellis was not convicted of a DWI back in 2006, this will now be his 1st offense.

Ellis is out of jail on a $40,250 bond. His arraignment is set for February 21st.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Pearl High School student takes dream date to prom

    Pearl High School student takes dream date to prom

    Saturday, April 19 2014 12:26 AM EDT2014-04-19 04:26:01 GMT
    18-year-old Jacob Daniels can barely wipe the smile off his face, in anticipation of his Senior Prom Friday night. His mother Lori helps him try on his tuxedo as he talks about the dream girl he'll beMore >>
    Eighteen-year-old Jacob Daniels can barely wipe the smile off his face, in anticipation of his Senior Prom Friday night. His mother Lori helps him try on his tuxedo as he talks about the dream girl he'll be arm in arm with.
    More >>
  • Biloxi bakery celebrates 90 sweet years in business

    Biloxi bakery celebrates 90 sweet years in business

    Saturday, April 19 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-04-19 10:54:05 GMT
    A Biloxi bakery has many people thinking of delicious pastries for Easter time. And they've been doing it for nine decades! The Electrik Maid Bake Shop is celebrating 90 years in the baking business.More >>
    A Biloxi bakery has many people thinking of delicious pastries for Easter time. And they've been doing it for nine decades! The Electrik Maid Bake Shop is celebrating 90 years in the baking business.More >>
  • Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:55 AM EDT2014-04-19 11:55:08 GMT
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these areas.More >>
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these six areas.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.