Jacqueline Mars, heiress of the candy Company Mars Inc. and one of the world’s richest women will not serve any jail time for an accident where she fell asleep behind the wheel and resulted in the death of an 86-year-old woman.
NBC News Reported:
One of the world’s richest women will not serve any jail time for an accident authorities say resulted in the death of an 86-year-old woman.
Jacqueline Mars, a co-owner of the privately held candy company Mars Inc., entered the courtroom Thursday using a walker and pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge she faced. The judge could have sentenced Mars to a year in jail for the misdemeanor charge, but three of Irene Ellisor’s family members read statements in court, forgiving Mars for the October accident and asked that she not be jailed.
The judge followed their request but ordered Mars to pay a $2,500 fine and suspended her license for six months.
“…[I]t’s important for this court and the families to know that I will always live with the grief and the loss caused by this tragedy,” Mars said in court Thursday.
Ellisor’s family embraced Mars in a private room after the judge followed their recommendation, News4’s Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reported.
Court papers state that Mars told a witness she fell asleep at the wheel just before the crash in Aldie, Va. The sheriff’s office says Mars’ Porsche SUV crossed the center line and hit a minivan carrying Ellisor of Huntsville, Texas, who died at the scene.
Ashley Blakeslee, who was 8-months pregnant at the time, was critically injured and lost her baby. The other four passengers in the minivan, along with Mars, were also hospitalized. Doctors told Blakeslee her unborn son, who the family named Charlie, protected her and was the reason she did not die.
The Blakeslees call Charlie their hero.
Ellisor’s family told News4 the group was in Virginia from Texas for Ashley Blakeslee’s brother’s wedding.
Fewer than 600 feet from the scene, her husband, Travis Blakeslee; father, Arnold Acker; and other family members heard the crash from outside an inn where the rehearsal was scheduled to begin. They ran to the scene and witnessed the emergency response.
Mars traveled to Texas Monday for a visit with the family Tuesday.
“I have been down to see Ashley Blakeslee and her husband and tried to begin to express my sorrow and my regret and my empathy with them,” she said.
Acker told the court he did not support jail time for Mars.
Forbes Magazine ranks Mars as the world’s seventh-richest woman. She tied for 15th place in the magazine’s 2013 ranking of richest people in America with a net worth of $20.5 billion.
That was up five spots from her 2011 ranking, when her net worth was listed at $13.8 billion and she was believed to be the richest person living in the greater D.C. area.
Mars’ father invented M&M’s and the Mars bar.