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Billionaire candy heiress pleads guilty in fatal crash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Billionaire candy heiress Jacqueline Badger Mars pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor reckless driving charges stemming from a fatal accident in Virginia.

Loudoun County General District Court Judge Deborah Welsh ordered Mars, 74, to pay a $2,500 (1,531.11 pounds) fine and suspended her license for six months, according to online court records.

Mars, who owns a third of the Mars Inc candy company, was driving a Porsche SUV on October 4 when it crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a minivan in Aldie, Virginia, according to the Sheriff's Office in Loudoun County, on the outskirts of Washington.

A minivan passenger, Irene Ellisor, 86, died at the scene. She was not wearing a seatbelt, police said.

The driver of the minivan, who was pregnant, lost the baby she was carrying. The other four minivan passengers were briefly hospitalized.

The people in the minivan were visiting from Texas and in Virginia to attend a wedding.

In September, Forbes magazine listed Mars as the 15th-richest American with wealth of $20.5 billion.

The world's second-largest candy manufacturer, Mars makes products such as M&M candies and Snickers and Milky Way candy bars.

Jacqueline Mars served as food product group president of the McLean, Virginia, company until her retirement in 2001. She remains on the board of directors.

Her philanthropy work earned her the 2012 Foundation for the National Archives' Heritage Award. She also serves on the board of directors of the National Sporting Library and Fine Art Museum.

(Reporting by Lacey Johnson, Editing by Ian Simpson and Gunna Dickson)

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