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Billionaire Jacqueline Mars Faces Charge in Fatal Crash

Mars Inc. Co-Owner Jacqueline Badger Mars
Jacqueline Badger Mars, executive and part-owner of Mars Inc., stands for a photograph at the National Museum of Women in the Arts 25th Anniversary Gala which she co-chaired in Washington, D.C., on April 27, 2012. Photographer: Jay Mallin/Bloomberg

Oct. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Jacqueline Badger Mars, the billionaire co-owner of candy maker Mars Inc., faces a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving in connection with a fatal accident on Oct. 4, according to the Loudoun County, Virginia, Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Mars, 74, was traveling westbound in a 2004 Porsche sport utility vehicle on Route 50 near Aldie, Virginia, at about 2:30 p.m. when her SUV crossed the center line and struck an eastbound minivan occupied by six women, the county sheriff said in a statement.

A back-seat passenger in the minivan, Irene Ellisor, 86, of Huntsville, Texas, was killed in the crash. Ellisor wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, according to the statement.

A summons was issued for Mars to appear in Loudoun General District Court in Leesburg, Virginia, on Dec. 5 to face the reckless driving count.

Heather Williamson, a spokeswoman for Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman, declined to discuss the charge.

“Because this is now an active case in the court, our office cannot comment on the investigation or pending case,” Williamson said in an e-mailed statement.

“As court proceedings begin, Jacquie’s thoughts and prayers remain with those who have suffered injury and loss,” Kent Jarrell, Mars’s personal spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “She regrets this tragic accident.”

Mars, of The Plains, Virginia, has a net worth of $23.3 billion, making her the 27th-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Most of her fortune comes from a one-third stake in McLean, Virginia-based Mars, the world’s second-largest candy maker. The closely held company’s brands include Snickers, Milky Way and M&M’s.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Zajac in Washington at azajac@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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