Canada woman stops for ducks; guilty in 2 deaths
Jun. 20, 2014 3:52 PM EDT
In a Tuesday, June
3, 2014 photo, Emma Czornobaj is pictured at the Montreal Courthouse in
Montreal. Czornobaj, who stopped to help a group of ducklings on the
side of the road, was found guilty Friday, June 20, 2014, of causing the
deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into
her parked car on on June 27, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham
(AP) — 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 Friday 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 in 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-member jury voted unanimously.
Czornobaj was released until her pre-sentence hearing on Aug. 8.
Roy's motorcycle slammed into Czornobaj's car, which was stopped in
the left lane of a provincial 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.
Defense 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 message 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."
Edited by tatee - Jun 21 2014 at 12:52pm