The family of a woman who was killed in a crash at the farm stand where she worked in Newbury, Massachusetts, spoke about her memory Thursday.
Janet Bach, a 70-year-old Marblehead woman, is charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation in the May 21 crash that killed 47-year-old Susan Sforza Nico of Seabrook, New Hampshire.
Bach is accused of suddenly accelerating rapidly in reverse and crashing into the checkout area of the farm stand at Byfield Greenhouses.
The crash also injured a 57-year-old man and an 8-year-old girl.
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"I feel like I've lost a limb. I feel like I have a flat tire, that something is just not right," said Laura Sforza, Nico's sister.
The youngest of seven siblings, Nico worked alongside her father in the greenhouses seven days a week for the last 15 years. Her sisters say family and animals were two of her passions.
"There would be days she was working here at the greenhouse, and she'd see a dog go running by, and she'd stop what she is doing and go check to make sure he had a collar and that he was safe," said sister Tammy Sforza.
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They laughed recalling some of their favorite memories of Nico.
"For our holidays or whatever, she would always volunteer Rice Krispy treats," said Tammy Sforza. "I don't think we ever tasted those Rice Krispy treats. She never made them. Sometimes, she would come with the actual box and the ingredients, but never the actual Rice Krispy treats, so that was always the running joke."
Nico married and become mother to two beloved stepchildren in September.
"He made her so happy, she got to be a mother, she had her own home, she had everything going for her, and in the blink of an eye, it's over," said Tammy Sforza.
"Someone needs to be held accountable for our loss," said Laura Sforza. "It wasn't an accident, it was deemed a preventable tragedy, and that's the justice that we are looking for."
"No matter what the trial, the charges or anything, it doesn't bring Susan back to us," said Tammy Sforza. "If anything by going to trial, by her pleading not guilty and forcing us to go to trial, it makes the wound even bigger. It hurts."
The family reopened the business after Nico's death to sell the flowers and plants she grew. They emptied the greenhouses at the end of the season, but reminders of her remain throughout the farm. Her work clothes hanging on the wall. Her handwriting is on the plant markers.
"She's everywhere," said Laura Sforza.
"Always will be," said Tammy Sforza.
The greenhouses are located behind their parents' home. Along with the happy memories are the memories of the day she died.
"Without Susan, there is no Byfield Greenhouses," said Tammy Sforza. "We can't go on without her being here."
The family decided to close the business their father started four decades ago.
"This is it," Tammy Sforza said. "All that's left now is these empty greenhouses and our tears."
The Sforza family asked their community to consider donating to the New Hampshire SPCA in her memory. In a letter posted on the farm's Facebook page, the animal shelter's director of development and marketing wrote, "During this difficult time, may you find comfort in the fact that lives have been saved by these thoughtful gifts and that many of our animals have been given a second chance at living a wonderful, happy life."
Bach pleaded not guilty in during her arraignment in Newburyport District Court Tuesday. She was released with a bail warning and ordered not to drive during the pendency of the case. Motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation is punishable by probation up to two and a half years in prison, a fine of no less than $300 and no more than $3,000. A guilty finding results in a 15 year loss of license.
The next court date is Sept. 13.