A 71-year-old Marblehead woman pleaded guilty to a charge of motor vehicle homicide Tuesday in connection with an incident last May, in which her car struck and killed an owning family member at the Byfield Greenhouse and Garden Center.
Janet Bach, of Girdler Road, was sentenced to 18 months in the Middleton House of Correction, with the sentence suspended while she serves three years of probation, Essex County District Attorney Paul Tucker’s office said in a statement. Bach was also ordered not to drive, and stay away from all witnesses and victims.
Bach will also lose her license for 15 years, and was ordered to pay court fees and reimburse $8,700 in funeral expenses for the victim, Susan Sforza Nico, 47, of Seabrook, N.H. She will also be required to serve 200 hours of community service.
The Commonwealth had sought a two-and-a-half-year sentence for Bach to be suspended during a three-year probationary period. Bach’s attorney, John Morris, argued for two years of probation, with no possibility of jail time.
Sforza Nico, a stepmother of two and the manager of the greenhouse, was working at a cashier stand when a Honda CRV operated by Bach lurched into reverse and smashed through one of the greenhouse walls. A 57-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl also sustained serious injuries in the crash and were hospitalized, while two others suffered lesser injuries.
In the wake of the crash, the Sforza family permanently closed the greenhouse.