Jacqueline Mars pleads guilty to fatal crash, gets fine, suspended license

Photo Courtesy Mars Inc.

LEESBURG, Va. (AP/WJLA) - A co-owner of the Mars candy company has pleaded guilty to reckless driving in a fatal crash that killed one person as well as an unborn child.

A judge in Loudoun County, Va., on Thursday ordered Jacqueline Mars to pay a $2,500 fine and suspended her license for six months for causing the Oct. 4 crash that killed 86-year-old Irene Ellisor. Ellisor, of Huntsville, Texas, had been traveling in a minivan with other members of her family to a wedding rehersal at an Inn off of Route 50 in the western part of the county.

The crash, which court documents say occurred when Mars fell asleep at the wheel and drifted into oncoming traffic, also killed the unborn child of Ashley Blakeslee. The child, who had already been named Charlie by his family, was delivered via cesarean section while his mother was unconscious. According to court documents, doctors told Blakeslee that she likely survived the crash because he unborn son received the brunt of the impact.

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. They say they have forgiven Mars.

Mars apologized for the crash and said she will live with grief for the rest of her life. Blood tests taken at the hospital following the crash showed no evidence of any drugs or alcohol in her system.

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