Canadian woman who stopped for ducks found guilty in fatal crash

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QUEBEC CITY -- A Quebec woman who stopped her car on a highway for crossing ducks was found guilty of a fatal crash.

A jury concluded the victims -- a motorcyclist and his daughter -- died because of the woman's actions.

Emma Czornobaj, 25, was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death. The verdict came almost four years after her decision.

Czornobaj parked her car in the left-hand lane of a highway and tried to rescue a group of ducks. Seconds later, a motorcycle crashed into her Honda Civic. Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter Jessie, 16, died of injures suffered in the crash.

The defense called it an unfortunate accident, not a criminal act. Attorney Marc Labelle says he might appeal the decision.

The defense is asking for Czornobaj not to serve any jail time. Sentencing arguments will be heard Aug. 8.

 

 

29 comments

  • Robert Gift

    Did she operate her FOUR-WAY-FLASHERS?
    It is up to the motorcyclist or vehicle driver to be able to slow and stop before hitting anything ALREADY in the road. Doesn’t matter if coming around a curve or if low visibility. Up to him to drive according to conditions.

    • Dick Peabody

      Other than for an emergency, there is no excuse whatsoever for a driver to stop in a traffic lane ESPECIALLY on a high-speed road such as a highway. NO EXCUSE. It’s not a matter of keeping a “safe” distance. Parking a car in a traffic lane is like a boulder (or a bear or an elk) suddenly being there. It’s unexpected and dangerous and it defies common sense.

      • Dick Peabody

        If you don’t know the difference between an “act of God or nature” and the negligence of some self absorbed twit, then you should have your driver’s license yanked until you figure it out.

      • Carol Jones

        Dick, you obviously do not know the law. It does not matter why she was stopped it is your responsibility to drive at a speed that allows you to stop for unforseen circumstances. That is why when you rearend someone you get a ticket for failure to control speed to avoid collision.

  • Test

    If you hit a stationary object it’s your fault. Sorry folks nature does not guarantee you an empty lane to speed on. Passengers on a motorcycle is a bad move too.

  • Dick Peabody

    And here’s a note to you maroons who think you’re the greatest person on Earth for stopping traffic to let geese or ducks walk across the road: KEEP effing going. Reduce your speed and move ahead slowly, or more slowly. Believe it or not the little darlings will MOVE out of your way AND you’re less likely to cause an accident as if you cared about other people anyway.

    • Robert Gift

      ^ Still remains up to me to PAY ATTENTION and NOTICE the vehicle stopped ahead, (regardless of whether the reason stopped was stupid or not) and to slow and stop or change lanes and go around.
      Had she stopped to save a child in the road, he need not have killed himself andaughter.
      (Yes, it was human error. We become accustomed to the road being clean and clear. We relax some and become more expectant and less observant.)

      • Anonymous

        Consider this. It night time and you are following a semi in the right hand lane. You signal, shoulder check and change lanes into the left lane to pass. Going highway speeds at night time with a stopped car in the left lane how can you stop in time.

      • Robert Gift

        ^ I failed to check that the lane ahead was clear.
        Immediately I would brake and steer to the right, back into the lane behind the tractor-trailer rig.
        Remember, it could be something else such as a dead horse or broken-down vehicle, etc. other than a stupid woman stopping in a traffic lane.
        Hopefully anyone stopped in a traffic lane would have their four-way flashers operating.

  • Sunny Sharma

    It’s just an unfortunate accident.
    You should always keep eyes on the road.
    I’ve had car trouble before where I had to stop in the middle lane of highway at night with dead battery so emergency lights didn’t work. I was glad and lucky that no one was stupid enough like the motorcyclist mentioned here.
    Cops came after around 25 minutes and pushed me to the shoulder.

    • Dick Peabody

      Vehicles don’t just “stop” because of a dead battery at least not without giving you ample warning that there is a problem with the electrical system. YOU were a traffic hazard and should have been given a stern warning if not a ticket. BTW, this duck lady’s case wasn’t just an “unfortunate” accident. She made a decision to endanger other people’s lives by being foolish and irresponsible. As for YOU… you have a duty to maintain your vehicle or stay the he11 off the road.

      • Test

        Hey Dick, magnetos are long gone. With EFI and electronic ignition vehicles do just stop due to a dead battery. If the alternator is not working the vehicle will quit once the battery dies, often quite suddenly. If in gear,the stop could be pretty abrupt.

      • Sunny Sharma

        It was slightly icy road on I-30 in Fort Worth so traffic was moving slow in few areas and at high speed in other.
        I was behind an 18 wheeler who suddenly decided to stop before an overpass. May be the driver thought it’s slippery. I stopped behind him and it just shut off and won’t start back up. Pressed the emergency lights, nothing. All the dashboard lights also went dead.
        I thought of going outside fearing someone would hit me but that was even more dangerous so stayed in and called 911.
        It happens and it needs two to have a collision. As long as one of them is aware, it can be avoided most of the time.

    • Robert Gift

      ^ Why could you not COAST to either shoulder, preferrably the right shoulder, and roll well off the roadway?
      I would have hung whatever reflective materials I could, including my white undershirt, to try and make the vehicle more visible at night.
      When no vehicles were approaching, I would have tried to push my vehicle off the roadway.
      We keep road flares in our vehicles.
      Dick is right about your responsibility to keep your vehicle roadworthy or not have it on the road.

  • Sunny Sharma

    It was roadworthy. I never had issues with it and it always started right up. My relative still drives it fine. Of course the battery was replaced but the car itself is fine.

  • Sunny Sharma

    BTW, I do agree that the driver mentioned in the article did put others and herself in risk but it’s hard to just run over the ducks if there is time to speed. If I’m going 65 mph and a duck or a rabbit comes in front, I’ll run over them but we don’t have complete picture of this situation mentioned here.
    Did she suddenly stop and the motorcycle was right behind her or she stopped and the motorcycle came after a while?
    Either way, she’s still at fault but nothing criminal. May be a traffic violation.

  • John Meyers

    How stupid is this world getting. If traffic is stopped for any reason and you rear end the car in front of you it is your fault not the driver that stopped. So it was ducks what if it had been a person. The movie Idiocracy is getting closer and closer to being true all the time.

  • Jason Byer

    Oh my gosh!!! You freaking idiots that think a ducks life is as important as a human life should kill yourself. Great idea to stop in a highway. If the motorcyclist was behind a driver that merged at the last minute how could he have time to stop for a parked vehicle?? Motorcycles do not stop as fast as cars you brainless twits. People kill ducks all day everyday with shotguns for sport!! There is absolutely no excuse for stopping in a freeway for some birds. Too bad it was not the old lady that died instead of some innocent 16 year old and her dad. A whole family crushed and devastated because a “hero” tried to save an animal that there is no shortage of. (If ducks were an endangered species maybe it would be a different story but they are not) This case should definitely be criminal to send a message to all the other people that do senseless thing such as this.

    • Andrew

      As a biker who has been struck by flying road debris I can tell you for a fact that hitting a duck at speed would have caused no significant injury to the rider. Ive been hit by things way heavier than your average duck.

  • Anonymous

    It was a tragic accident, and, in this case, as sad miscalculation. But I was always taught that it is your responsibility to look far ahead when driving, and leave enough stopping distance. So the unfortunate victims must share responsibility for the accident. I would find it very difficult to plow into a group of animals, whatever kind. Her heart was in the right place, and she’ll live with the repercussions for the rest of her life. And what if had been a child? Not to equate the two, but I doubt she’d be considered at fault then – the motorcycle driver would, for not leaving enough stopping distance. And yes, sadly, animals die every day, often at the hands of humans, but this doesn’t make it right. There was no intent to harm, only to help. I think that should weigh a lot in a court of law.

  • Sunny Sharma

    Looks like motorcyclists go to different license training/test where they are told not to stop for anything.
    One of the driving test questions is about this.
    Do you always follow speed limit or drive depending upon road conditions?
    Anyone with some IQ knows to drive depending upon road conditions that means anything, heavy traffic, dead deer, running dogs and kids, accidents, broke down cars, trees, collapsed bridge etc… and in this case, a stopped car.
    The motorcyclist is at fault of killing himself and his daughter. Car driver is at fault of obstructing traffic but not a vehicular manslaughter.

    • Robert Gift

      ^ Motorcyclist could not slow enough and go around the stopped vehicle?
      Was the motorcyclist partially asleep and did not.ice until too late?
      Regardless of the woman’s poor reason to stop in a traffic lane, it is up to me as a motorcyclist/driver to look ahead and travel at a speed which allows slowing and stopping in time.

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