LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA9) -- One of the richest women in the world pleaded guilty to reckless driving, for a horrific tragedy she caused when she fell asleep at the wheel.
Jacqueline Badger Mars, 74, co-owner of the multi-billion dollar Mars candy company, crashed head on into a van full of people on their way to a wedding rehearsal dinner Oct. 4.
The accident happened on Route 50 in Aldie, Va.
The deadly collision cost 86-year-old Texas native Irene Ellisor her life and also the groom's sister's unborn child. She was 8 months pregnant at the time with Charlie who didn't survive.
The baby's mother says her unborn child saved her life when she was pinned inside the minivan.
Despite the unspeakable tragedy on what was suppose to be a joyous occasion, the families have forgiven the candy heir and pleaded with the judge not to sentence her jail time.
"It does carry great deal of weight in our office, the victims' families and the judge in seeking justice,"Jim Plowman, Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney, said.
The judge listened and did not sentence Mars to jail.
"I think what we saw here today was a great moment of forgiveness and compassion and one of the nicest things to come out as tragic as this one was," Plowman said.
Jim Plowman says the crime reflected a reckless driving charge and did not rise to the level of manslaughter.
Mars said in court she will live everyday with the grief, loss and regret of this tragedy. The judge fined her $2,500 dollars and suspended her license for 6 months.
She made the following statement to the judge and victims:
"I want to express to this Court andespecially to the individuals and the families ofthose in the van my deep sadness and regret and letthem know that I understand that I have caused great
suffering and loss.
"I have been down to see Ashley Blakeslee andher husband and tried to begin to express my sorrowand my regret and my empathy with them. I was down inTexas on Monday.I know I can't go back in time. I can'tchange what happened. But it's important for thisCourt and the families to know that I will always livewith the grief and the loss caused by this tragedy."