The co-owner of Mars candy company who was involved in a fatal car crash that killed an elderly woman has plead guilty to reckless driving but will avoid a jail sentence, reports Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
General District Judge Deborah Welsh instead sentenced 74-year-old Jacqueline Badger Mars to pay a $2,500 fine, and suspended her license for six months. The leniency in the case was a product of the victim’s family members asking the judge to forgo a jail sentence, and Mars’ perfect driving record up until the crash.
Mars was driving a Porsche SUV in Aldie, near Middleburg, when she fell asleep behind the wheel and collided head on with a minivan on Oct. 4th. The driver of the minivan, eight-months pregnant Ashley Blakeslee, sustained injuries that resulted in the loss of her unborn child. Irene Ellisor, 86, of Huntsville, Texas, was a passenger in the backseat of the minivan and died as a result of the crash.
The woman who would have been the unborn child’s grandmother, Sharron Acker, who was also in the minivan, told the judge prior to sentencing that “we only have forgiveness in our hearts for [Mars]. … We hope that she too in time can find peace.”
Mars expressed regret for the accident, and said she would live forever with the “grief and loss caused by this tragedy.” Mars now uses a walker because of the injuries she suffered in the accident.
Prosecutors pointed to blood tests that showed that neither alcohol nor drug use were factors in the accident, and that Mars had sustained a perfect driving record up until the collision. Police also checked Mars’ phone records and there is no evidence to suggest she was using her cell phone or driving distracted.
Mars could have faced up to a year in prison on the reckless driving misdemeanor charge, but Judge Welsh took into consideration the victim’s request to forgo jail time and Mars’ driving record.
Mars visited the family of the victim in Texas to personally apologize, and a spokesman says that Mars provided “appropriate” financial assistance to the affect families.
Mars is the world’s seventh richest woman and is the co-owner of Mars Inc.
To see our original article on the accident, click here.
The Parrish Law Firm car accident injury lawyer works with northern Virginia residents who have suffered injuries because of another driver’s negligence and are seeking compensation for their suffering. Call us at 703-906-4229 or fill out a free case consultation form and tell us about your case.