Billionaire Jacqueline Mars pleads guilty to reckless driving in - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Billionaire Jacqueline Mars pleads guilty to reckless driving in fatal Va. crash

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Jacqueline Mars Jacqueline Mars
LEESBURG, Va. -

One of the richest women in the world has pleaded guilty to reckless driving in connection with an auto accident in October that killed one person and injured several others.

Jacqueline Mars got no jail time, but her license to drive has been suspended for six months.

According to Forbes, candy fortune heiress Jacqueline Badger Mars is worth $17 billion.

Prosecutors told a judge at the courthouse in Leesburg on October 4th, on a rural part of Rt. 50 near Aldie, the seventh-richest woman in the world apparently fell asleep at the wheel. Her vehicle drifted across the line and smashed head-on into a minivan, killing one elderly woman and severely injuring several other passengers.

One of those injured passengers was eight months pregnant, but she lost the baby, which the parents were going to name Charlie. According to court testimony, doctors told that survivor that her advanced pregnancy may have cushioned the impact and saved her life.

Nicole Wittmann, the chief deputy prosecutor in Loudoun County, Va., spoke by phone with the Texas-based family, which was in Virginia in October to attend a wedding.

"They explained to their young children (who are under the age of ten -- both of them) that Charlie was a hero and that Charlie and mommy were in an accident and that Charlie died as a result of the injuries that he suffered as a part of the accident,” she said. “But that he gave his life up so that mommy could stay on Earth and take care of them, because he knew that they needed their mommy. And that he would be in heaven waiting for them."

Mars, who is 74, pleaded guilty to reckless driving, a misdemeanor in Virginia, but a serious one that could result in a 12-month jail sentence.

The defendant entered the courtroom using a walker with wheels in the front. Although she was represented by an attorney, she asked to read a statement to the judge before sentencing, in which she expressed "deep sadness and regret."

Mars said, "I will always live with the grief and the loss caused by this tragedy.”

Family members of the victims told the judge: do not sentence Jacqueline Mars to incarceration because the accident was "unintentional."

District Judge Deborah Welch imposed a $2,500 fine and a six-month license suspension.

The chief prosecutor told reporters a more serious charge of manslaughter was out of the question because of the evidence.

Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman said outside the courthouse: "There was no alcohol involved. There were no narcotics involved. She wasn't under the influence of anything."


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