• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:27am

Canadian woman guilty of causing deaths after parking car to help ducks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 5:10am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 June, 2014, 5:10am

A Canadian woman who parked her car on a highway to help a group of ducklings on the side of the road was found guilty of causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into her car.

Emma Czornobaj was convicted by a jury on two counts of criminal negligence causing death, a charge that carries a maximum life sentence, and two counts of dangerous driving causing death, which comes with a maximum of 14 years in jail.

The 25-year-old was charged with the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter Jessie, 16. She wiped away tears when the verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom in Montreal. Quebec Superior Court Justice Eliane Perreault said the 12 jurors voted unanimously.

Roy's motorcycle slammed into Czornobaj's car, which was stopped in the left lane of a highway south of Montreal in 2010. Czornobaj, a self-professed animal-lover, told the court that she did not see the ducklings' mother anywhere and planned to capture them and take them home.

Defence lawyer Marc Labelle said his client was stunned by the jury's decision.

"The fact that she was involved in the accident in the first place was a hard experience for her," he said. "The fact that she had to go through a trial with a lot of publicity was tough and to be confirmed by 12 citizens, the jury, that the conduct was criminal is a hard blow."

Pauline Volikakis, whose husband and daughter were killed in the collision, briefly fought back tears when she left the courtroom. "I don't wish misfortune on anyone," Volikakis said. "It's time that we go on. This will not bring (back) my loved ones."

Prosecutor Annie-Claude Chasse had a warning for motorists: "What we hope is that a clear message is sent to society that we do not stop on the highway for animals. It's not worth it."


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This article is now closed to comments

It is a terrible tragedy and at the same time I can't understand how the motorcyclist did not see the car stopped on the highway. Had there been another obstacle (debris or lost cargo) on the highway the result would also have been potentially fatal. All too often the blame is laid on a survivor but in this case, a criminal verdict is reprehensible and unjust. It is a miscarriage of justice to render a guilty verdict without "mens reas" (criminal intent). Having to live with her part in the deaths of two people is a huge burden, a criminal penalty is simply blasphemous to the civility of justice. This could even approach the form of justice found in third world countries....
Its a sick world when human beings think that speeding along highways is more important than loving nature!
Motor expressways are execution zones for innocent fauna. Their rights weren't even considered, when we invaded their habitat.
Too bad Emma is not in Hong Kong, where if you were drunk driving and killed 6 people would serve you only 6 years in jail, or you can even get away with it by refusing the breathalyzer test (by speaking in English of course).
jury must be paranoid. motorcyclist hitting from back, no matter what reason the car was stopped is careless driving by motorcyclist.
The reason why the car was stopped is irrelevant.
I posted on this as well....the obstruction could well have been a deer. Who is to say whether the motorcyclist would not have had an accident by hitting those ducks???


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