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Woman Who Stopped On Freeway To Rescue Ducks Faces Life In Prison

  • June 28, 2014
  • 7:04 am
Woman Who Stopped On Freeway To Rescue Ducks Faces Life In Prison

A Canadian woman parked her car on a Montreal-area highway in 2010 to help a group of ducklings; almost four years to the day later, Emma Czornobaj was last Friday found guilty of causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who smashed into her car. The jury was unanimous in convicting the 25-year-old 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 Canadian Press reports Andre Roy, 50, who was traveling with his 16-year-old daughter, Jessie, on his Harley-Davidson, was driving an estimated 70mph to 80mph in a roughly 60mph zone.

His wife was following behind them at a slower speed and avoided injury, and has said she doesn’t blame Czornobaj for the deaths; her husband died in her arms, and her daughter, who was pinned beneath the Honda Civic, died later in a hospital. The AP notes Czornobaj wiped away tears when the verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom; she was released until her pre-sentence hearing on Aug. 8. Czornobaj had stopped her car in the left lane of a provincial highway after spotting roughly seven ducklings on the median, reports CTV. The self-professed animal lover told the court that she did not see the ducklings’ mother anywhere and was trying to herd them, with the intention of taking them home. The Montreal Gazette notes that the case is an unusual one, in that Czornobaj faces a life sentence though there was no criminal intent tied to her actions. (Click to read about another unusual charge leveled against a father.)

If you don’t think Czornobaj deserves life in prison, sign the Care2 petition asking for a more just sentence.

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7:03PM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

What a tragedy coming from someone who did a gentle thing.

1:25AM PDT on Sep 13, 2014

It was not intentional. I believe that Intentional murderers get VERY light sentences. Certainly NOT LIFE!!! especially, in Canada. Very sad and tragic that people lost their lives.......She will most likely already punish herself enough for the rest of her life. I think that the sentence should not have any jail time for this person.

9:30AM PDT on Sep 10, 2014

There are some state that have laws on stopping. She was negligent. Life is a bit much. However stopping in an unsafe manner is not excusable.

1:12PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Yes, Angela P, some people will put all the blame on someone else, for example the motorcyclist who was speeding in the left hand passing lane. Certainly, the fact that she parked her car in the middle of the left hand passing lane had absolutely 'nothing' to do with the fact that this caused the deaths...and the moon is made of green cheese.
The next time that I save a turtle in the middle of the highway, I guess I should park in the left hand passing lane...and then rename it to the left hand 'parking lane'...then, if someone dies as a result, people will say what a great person that I am for saving a turtle (instead of parking on the side of the highway where I always park when rescuing wildlife) and how it was the fault of the other person who hit my car...parked illegally in the middle of the highway. Putting her in prison for a short time will have her remember that there are consequences to parking a car in the middle of an active highway. She will never get a life sentence by the way, that would be impossible.

Aurea W, the American justice system is not at issue here and has no relevance to the Canadian justice system. We don't have miles per hour in Canada.

As for putting 'blame' on people, that is what the justice system does, when their actions result in the death of other people.

9:57AM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

It sounds like the husband was the person to blame for this. He was on a motorcycle speeding with his daughter on the back. I don't think a life sentence is the answer for Emma Czornobaj.

11:45AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

There are no winners in this but a possible life term is not the answer.

2:34AM PDT on Sep 1, 2014

It's a tragedy and a kind deed that ended up going terrible wrong. I feel compassion for everyone involved.

8:59PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Aurea - very well put. It does no good to put this woman in prison. There are far worse criminals walking the streets that should take her place.

6:37PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

A tragedy all the way around. From wanting to do a loving act of kindness and using poor judgement in where she stopped her car to the father who was 10 to 20 mph too fast. If the judge does not use "good" judgement in sentencing Ms. Cznorbojal it will be three people who died. A long prison sentence is NOT the answer and will only add to an already painful situation. Heck here in the USA if you are rich and kill four people with your car you get to do rehab in a plush spa for a year! Yep, that is our system for the rich and more white, male and rich.

1:51AM PDT on Aug 22, 2014

The wife, the mother is of gentle character. She saw first hand what happened. She laid no blame upon this young woman, then why should anyone else. Don't answer that. :-)

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