Jacqueline Mars (File)
LEESBURG, Va. (December 5, 2013) Jacqueline Badger Mars, 74, an owner of the McLean, Va.,-based candy company Mars Inc., pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor reckless driving charge in a crash that killed an elderly Texas woman.
A judge in Loudoun County, Va., on ordered Mars to pay a $2,500 fine and suspended her driver’s license for six months.
The judge could have sentenced Mars to a year in jail on the misdemeanor charge, but the victim's relatives asked the judge not to incarcerate her, saying they have forgiven Mars.
Mars apologized for the crash and said she will live with grief for the rest of her life.
The sheriff's office says Mars was driving a Porsche SUV on Oct. 4 in Aldie, Va., when the vehicle crossed the center line and hit a minivan.
Irene Ellisor, 86, of Huntsville, who was a passenger in the minivan, died at the scene.
A search warrant seeking Mars' medical records says the heiress told a witness she fell asleep at the wheel just before the crash.
Mars, the company founder's daughter who has been ranked by Forbes Magazine as the world's seventh richest woman, is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 5.
A personal spokesman said Mars "regrets this tragic accident" and her thoughts and prayers are with those who suffered injury and loss.
Mars operates a snack foods plant in Waco.