Retired Marblehead teacher pleads guilty to deadly crash

A just-retired Marblehead teacher has pleaded guilty to motor vehicular homicide in a crash that killed a woman at a Byfield family farm stand and garden center in May 2022. Janet Bach, 71, was sentenced to 18 months in the Middleton House of Correction with her sentence suspended while she serves three years of probation.

The accident killed Sofia Sforza Nico, a stepmother of two and the greenhouse manager at her family’s Byfield Greenhouse and Garden Center. She was working at a cashier stand when Bach’s Honda CRV lurched backwards and smashed through a greenhouse wall. Several other people were injured, including an eight-year-old girl.

Bach worked as a teacher at the Brown School before retiring two months ago. She is ordered not to drive during her probation and to stay away from all witnesses and victims. She also has to pay nearly $9,000 in funeral expenses and perform 200 hours of community service.

The Sforza family shut down the garden center permanently after the tragedy.

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Editor Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter.

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