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Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a Highway 

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:21 PM
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Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a Highway

Father, daughter killed because woman stopped car to help ducks, prosecutor alleges



MONTREAL - A woman who stopped to help a group of ducklings on the side of the road shed tears Friday as she was found guilty of causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into her parked car.

The lawyer for Emma Czornobaj said his client was in shock after she was convicted by a jury on two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

Czornobaj, 25, was charged in the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter Jessie, 16, on a Montreal-area highway.

She wiped away tears when the verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom in Montreal.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Eliane Perreault asked each of the 10 men and two women on the jury member whether they agreed with the verdict and they replied unanimously in favour.

The jury reached its decision as it entered its fourth day of deliberations on Friday.

Czornobaj was released until her pre-sentence hearing on Aug. 8.

She did not say anything to reporters and walked quickly by them in the courthouse corridor with her mother, holding up a newspaper to hide her face.

Criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum life sentence while the charge of dangerous driving causing death comes with a maximum of 14 years in jail. Czornobaj has no previous criminal record.

Pauline Volikakis, whose husband and daughter were killed in the collision, briefly fought back tears when she left the courtroom.

She refused to speculate about a possible sentence, saying she just wanted to get on with her life.

"It's been difficult," said Volikakis. "But it's finished. We're moving on other things (and) we hope it will go well.

"I don't wish misfortune on anyone," she added. "It's time that we go on. This will not bring (back) my loved ones."

Volikakis was driving another motorcycle behind her husband when the collision happened. She was driving more slowly and managed to avoid injury.

A provincial police officer testified at the trial that Roy, whose speed was estimated at 113 km/h and 129 km/h when he applied his brakes, collided with Czornobaj's car at between 105 km/h and 121 km/h.

Roy's motorcycle slammed into Czornobaj's car, which was stopped in the left lane of a provincial highway in Candiac, south of Montreal.

His daughter was riding on the back of the motorcycle when the collision happened on June 27, 2010.

The trial heard that Czornobaj, who had three years' driving experience at the time, had stopped to rescue ducklings on the side of the road.

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.

Defence 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."

Labelle, who has been a lawyer for around 30 years, pointed out that the case was a unique one.

"It's the first time I do a trial where it is obvious that there is no criminal intent," he said.

Outside the courtroom, Crown prosecutor Annie-Claude Chasse publicly thanked the jury for their work.

"We do have a lot of respect for all the work of the jury," Chasse said. "They did not have any easy questions to answer."

The Crown attorney also 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."

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:24 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

sad story... but she really should have known better than to park in the road to save some ducks. her empathy for the ducks caused a dangerous situation which resulted in the deaths of people. horrible mistake to make....

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:26 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

Sad story all around.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:24 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

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sad story... but she really should have known better than to park in the road to save some ducks. her empathy for the ducks caused a dangerous situation which resulted in the deaths of people. horrible mistake to make....
Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Rear-end collisions are ALWAYS the fault of the motorist who rear-ends the vehicle in front of them.

This woman's conviction needs to be overturned on appeal. The motorcyclist's negligence is what caused his own deatg and the death of his daughter.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:39 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

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Originally Posted by Metal Mike View Post
Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Rear-end collisions are ALWAYS the fault of the motorist who rear-ends the vehicle in front of them.

This woman's conviction needs to be overturned on appeal. The motorcyclist's negligence is what caused his own deatg and the death of his daughter.
false. stopping in the middle of a road is very, very dangerous. it is considered 'negligence' since traffic maintaining the speed limit on a freeway should not reasonably expect a car to stop in the middle of the freeway unless it is disabled.

as an example, california law says:

Quote:
V C Section 21718 Stop Park or Leave Standing Upon a Freeway

Stop, Park, or Leave Standing Upon a Freeway

21718. (a) No person shall stop, park, or leave standing any vehicle upon a freeway which has full control of access and no crossings at grade except:

(1) When necessary to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

(2) When required by law or in obedience to a peace officer or official traffic control device.

(3) When any person is actually engaged in maintenance or construction on freeway property or any employee of a public agency is actually engaged in the performance of official duties.

(4) When any vehicle is so disabled that it is impossible to avoid temporarily stopping and another vehicle has been summoned to render assistance to the disabled vehicle or driver of the disabled vehicle. This paragraph applies when the vehicle summoned to render assistance is a vehicle owned by the donor of free emergency assistance that has been summoned by display upon or within a disabled vehicle of a placard or sign given to the driver of the disabled vehicle by the donor for the specific purpose of summoning assistance, other than towing service, from the donor.

(5) Where stopping, standing, or parking is specifically permitted. However, buses may not stop on freeways unless sidewalks are provided with shoulders of sufficient width to permit stopping without interfering with the normal movement of traffic and without the possibility of crossing over fast lanes to reach the bus stop.

(6) Where necessary for any person to report a traffic accident or other situation or incident to a peace officer or any person specified in paragraph (3), either directly or by means of an emergency telephone or similar device.

(7) When necessary for the purpose of rapid removal of impediments to traffic by the owner or operator of a tow truck operating under an agreement with the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

(b) A conviction of a violation of this section is a conviction involving the safe operation of a motor vehicle upon the highway if a notice to appear for the violation was issued by a peace officer described in Section 830.1 or 830.2 of the Penal Code.

Added Sec. 17, Ch. 945, Stats. 1997. Effective January 1, 1998.
and washington law

Quote:
RCW 46.61.570
Stopping, standing, or parking prohibited in specified places — Reserving portion of highway prohibited.

(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall:

(a) Stop, stand, or park a vehicle:

(i) On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street;

(ii) On a sidewalk or street planting strip;

(iii) Within an intersection;

(iv) On a crosswalk;

(v) Between a safety zone and the adjacent curb or within thirty feet of points on the curb immediately opposite the ends of a safety zone, unless official signs or markings indicate a different no-parking area opposite the ends of a safety zone;

(vi) Alongside or opposite any street excavation or obstruction when stopping, standing, or parking would obstruct traffic;

(vii) Upon any bridge or other elevated structure upon a highway or within a highway tunnel;

(viii) On any railroad tracks;

(ix) In the area between roadways of a divided highway including crossovers; or

(x) At any place where official signs prohibit stopping.

(b) Stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers:

(i) In front of a public or private driveway or within five feet of the end of the curb radius leading thereto;

(ii) Within fifteen feet of a fire hydrant;

(iii) Within twenty feet of a crosswalk;

(iv) Within thirty feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway;

(v) Within twenty feet of the driveway entrance to any fire station and on the side of a street opposite the entrance to any fire station within seventy-five feet of said entrance when properly signposted; or

(vi) At any place where official signs prohibit standing.

(c) Park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading property or passengers:

(i) Within fifty feet of the nearest rail of a railroad crossing; or

(ii) At any place where official signs prohibit parking.

(2) Parking or standing shall be permitted in the manner provided by law at all other places except a time limit may be imposed or parking restricted at other places but such limitation and restriction shall be by city ordinance or county resolution or order of the secretary of transportation upon highways under their respective jurisdictions.

(3) No person shall move a vehicle not lawfully under his or her control into any such prohibited area or away from a curb such a distance as is unlawful.

(4) It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve any portion of a highway for the purpose of stopping, standing, or parking to the exclusion of any other like person, nor shall any person be granted such right.


[1977 ex.s. c 151 § 40; 1975 c 62 § 35; 1965 ex.s. c 155 § 66.]

Notes:
Rules of court: Monetary penalty schedule--IRLJ 6.2.
Federal requirements--Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 151: See RCW 47.98.070 and 47.98.080.

Severability -- 1975 c 62: See note following RCW 36.75.010.

Limited access highways: RCW 47.52.120.
they both prohibit this behavior.

it's such a dangerous issue, in Washington and Oregon, you can get a fine for not being in the far lane when passing a cop that is pulling somebody over. Even with flashing lights, it's dangerous to stop in the middle of a freeway for any reason, especially to save some ducks.

also, keep in mind... if you were driving and another motorist were to cut you off, then slam on their brakes leaving you no time to stop... you are saying that you should be at fault for that? if that happens to you, i'd keep that bit of info to yourself... because it's not your fault in that case, that is, until you admit fault.

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Old 06-20-2014, 07:47 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

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Originally Posted by Metal Mike View Post
Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Rear-end collisions are ALWAYS the fault of the motorist who rear-ends the vehicle in front of them.

This woman's conviction needs to be overturned on appeal. The motorcyclist's negligence is what caused his own deatg and the death of his daughter.


Ontario - Highway Traffic Act

No person shall stop a vehicle in such manner as to impede or render dangerous the use of the highway by others, except in the case of an emergency, an accident, or a mechanical breakdown. In the event of such an emergency, accident, or breakdown, the emergency flashing lights of such vehicle shall be turned on if the vehicle is equipped with such lights and such lights are in working order. If the driver is capable of safely doing so and the vehicle is movable, the driver may move the vehicle from the roadway to prevent obstructing the regular flow of traffic; provided, however, that the movement of the vehicle to prevent the obstruction of traffic shall not relieve the law-enforcement officer of his duty pursuant to § 46.2-373. A report of the vehicle's location shall be made to the nearest law-enforcement officer as soon as practicable, and the vehicle shall be moved from the roadway to the shoulder as soon as possible and removed from the shoulder without unnecessary delay. If the vehicle is not promptly removed, such removal may be ordered by a law-enforcement officer at the expense of the owner if the disabled vehicle creates a traffic hazard.

Signal for stop

(8) The driver or operator of a vehicle upon a highway before stopping or suddenly decreasing the speed of the vehicle, if the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such stopping or decreasing of speed, shall give a signal plainly visible to the driver or operator of the other vehicle of the intention to stop or decrease speed.

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Old 06-20-2014, 08:51 PM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

So, did he hit her when she suddenly stopped? Or was she already stopped and he came upon the car and hit it?

The first one is understandable - the second one would just be the dead guy not paying attention.

Either way, this woman is an idiot for parking in the road.

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Old 06-21-2014, 06:29 AM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

There are simply no 'winners' in this case.

Tragic all around.

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Old 06-21-2014, 07:29 AM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

Did anyone not notice that the person on the other bike avoided the accident because they were traveling at a slower rate of speed? That alone tells me that this guy was traveling faster than he was able to react.

And Kanda, I've had people jump in front of me and slam on their brakes. Every single time, I avoided collision by being cautious and attentive. I've also avoided collisions with people who were stopped or travelling well below the minimum highway speed, because I never traveled faster than my reaction time.

You can cite all the ordnances you want, but inattention is inattention. Traffic laws are designed so that the responding officers can cite pretty much anyone involved for pretty much anything. The fact still remains that if the guy on the motorcycle had been a better rider, he and his daughter would still be alive.

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Old 06-21-2014, 10:33 AM
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Re: Quebec Woman Sentenced to Jail After Helping a Family of Ducks Cross a High

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Originally Posted by Metal Mike View Post
Did anyone not notice that the person on the other bike avoided the accident because they were traveling at a slower rate of speed? That alone tells me that this guy was traveling faster than he was able to react.

And Kanda, I've had people jump in front of me and slam on their brakes. Every single time, I avoided collision by being cautious and attentive. I've also avoided collisions with people who were stopped or travelling well below the minimum highway speed, because I never traveled faster than my reaction time.

You can cite all the ordnances you want, but inattention is inattention. Traffic laws are designed so that the responding officers can cite pretty much anyone involved for pretty much anything. The fact still remains that if the guy on the motorcycle had been a better rider, he and his daughter would still be alive.

You were not at the crime scene. Everything you just stated was your opinion. You can argue all you want that the deaths were the result of an unfortunate accident but the fact remains that when this lady stopped her vehicle on a busy highway she had reckless disregard for the safety of others and is undoubtedly criminal behaviour.


Quote:
On Tuesday, eyewitness Martine Tessier testified she was driving along the same stretch of highway on June 27, 2010. The weather was nice, the sun was setting and the road conditions were excellent.

Tessier said she was driving about 110 kilometres an hour when she saw a woman 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,’ ” Tessier told the jury.

She testified that, moments later, she was staring down a car, completely stopped with no hazard lights on, with the door open on the driver’s side.

“It was close enough that I knew I didn’t have time to brake,” Tessier said. Instead, she swerved to get around the car. Then she looked back in her rear-view mirror and saw something else hit the vehicle.

“I saw a body go over the car, it was like a rag doll,” Tessier said. “I shouted to my daughter to call 911 with my cellphone.”

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