A woman stopped for ducks and her life sentence is sparking a heated debate. The woman who stopped for ducks on the side of the road has been found guilty of the deaths of a father and his 16-year-old daughter and was convicted on two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death. The Canadian woman, 25-year-old Emma Czornobaj, is facing the maximum sentence of life in prison, reported WGNTV on July 7.
Emma Czornobaj was convicted on Friday and could be facing a life sentence. Her defense attorney, however, will be asking for no jail time because there was no criminal intent involved in the incident.
On Sunday, June 27, 2010, Emma Czornobaj was driving on a provincial highway in Candiac, south of Montreal, when she saw a group of ducklings in the median of the road. Being an animal lover, Czornobaj was concerned about the ducklings’ safety because she did not see the mother duck. “The professed animal lover told the court that she did not see the ducklings' mother anywhere and planned to capture them and take them home.”
Czornobaj, who had three years of driver’s experience at the time, stopped her car in the left lane of Highway 30 to help the ducklings. According to an eyewitness, the weather was nice, the sun was setting, and the road conditions were excellent. In her testimony, the eyewitness said that she was driving along on the same highway when she saw Czornobaj “along the side of the road seemingly trying to shoo along a family of ducks.”
"I shouted to my kids (in the car) 'What is she doing there? She's going to get killed’," the eyewitness told the jury which consists of 10 men and two women.
The eyewitness also testified that the Canadian woman’s car had been completely stopped with the engine running, no emergency lights on, and the door open on the driver’s side. "It was close enough that I knew I didn't have time to brake," the eyewitness described how she did not have time to apply her brakes but instead swerved around the car.
When looking back in her rear-view mirror, the eyewitness saw how a motorcycle driver and his passenger were less fortunate. “I saw a body go over the car, it was like a rag doll," the eyewitness said. "I shouted to my daughter to call 9-1-1 with my cellphone."
June 27 had been a glorious day for the Volikakis family who was on a short 20-minute motorcycle ride home when it all ended in tragedy. Pauline Volikakis was following her husband of 20 years, André Roy, and their only child, 16-year-old Jessie, on her own motorcycle when she saw her husband’s Harley-Davidson slam into Czornobaj’s parked car. “She was driving more slowly and managed to avoid injury,” reports CBS News Canada.
According to the lawyer of the woman who stopped for ducks and is now facing a life sentence, André Roy was driving an estimated 80 mph in a roughly 60 mph zone when he slammed into the back of Czornobaj’s car. André and Jessie were declared dead in the hospital. During the trial, Pauline Volikakis spoke against giving Czornobaj a life sentence. “My feelings are that it is time that we go on. This will not bring back my loved ones," she said.