One of America’s richest women has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of reckless driving over a car crash in northern Virginia that claimed the life of an 86-year-old woman.
Billionaire Jacqueline Badger Mars, 74, was fined $2,500 and her driver’s license was suspended for six months, according to Bloomberg News. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving and avoided jail time because the dead woman’s family told the judge they forgave her, according to reports.
“One of six occupants of a minivan struck by Mars told the court that she and others in the crash forgave Mars and asked that she not be given prison time,” reported Bloomberg.
The report contained a transcript of her comments in Loudoun County General District Court. “I understand that I have caused great suffering and loss. I know I can’t go back in time. But it’s important for this court and the families to know that I will always live with the grief and loss caused by this tragedy.”
Mars is the owner of the Mars Inc. chocolate company valued at $30 billion. She is listed as the third richest woman in the United States.
Mars’ Porsche Cayenne SUV crossed a center line on Route 50 near Aldie, Virginia, on the afternoon of Oct. 4, reported Bloomberg and hit a Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Irene Ellisor, of Huntsville, Texas, was a back seat passenger in minivan. She was killed in the crash.
The accident led to a second tragedy. “The driver of the minivan, Ashley Blakeslee, was pregnant at the time of the accident and incurred injuries that led to the loss of the unborn child, according to a statement read in court by Blakeslee’s mother, Sharron Acker,” Bloomberg reported.
A law recently enacted in Virginia confers a right to sue on the unborn child as well as his or her mother.
My thoughts and best wishes are with those who have lost loved ones in this tragic accident. If you have lost a loved one due to the fault of another driver, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact our Virginia wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation. Call Cooper Hurley at 757-455-0077.