Woman Who Stopped for Ducks Faces Life in Prison

Motorcyclist, passenger killed when they hit her car on highway

By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 21, 2014 12:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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 on 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.)

Emma Czornobaj is pictured in court in Montreal.   (Graham Hughes)
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