Sometimes being an animal lover can get you into serious trouble, especially if you're not thinking of your fellow man. In 2010, Emma Czornobaj stopped her car in the left lane of a Canadian highway south of Montreal to rescue a group of ducklings. However, a motorcyclist riding with his daughter as a passenger crashed into the back of Czornobaj's car while it was stopped, killing them both.

The case went to trial, and the story has dominated Canadian news for some time now. On Friday, Czornobaj was convicted of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death in a Canadian court. According to the CBC, her explanation in court was that she saw the ducklings along the side of the road without their mother in sight. As an animal lover, she decided to stop her car to rescue the birds and take them home with her.

Her punishment for the deaths isn't yet known, but according to the Montreal Gazette, sentencing is scheduled for August. Czornobaj's lawyer is trying to make sure she gets no jail time because this is a first offense and there was no criminal intent in the fatalities. Regardless of the sentencing outcome, it's a tragedy all around. Scroll down for a video with commentary about the jury's decision.


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  • 136 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 6 Months Ago
      Sad story all around.
      vimish
      • 6 Months Ago
      Another candidate for the Darwin awards. Similar story with a failed "save the cat" event in Florida: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2013-09-25/news/fl-deerfield-turnpike-crash-20130923_1_turnpike-crash-pickup-truck-driver-sawgrass-expressway Nothing wrong with saving someone or something... but only after evaluating the safety of others and the odds/consequences of a successful save. I wish more people could understand just how fast events happen when an object starts travelling at anything faster than walking speed (needless to say at 60+mph). I know, sometimes there just isn't enough time, but that is when really bad things happen.
      Fins99
      • 6 Months Ago
      She's hot..so don't expect any jail time
        Chris
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Fins99
        Let's be honest, what would throwing her in jail accomplish anyway? Maybe it's just me, but I would think having to live with the fact that a bad choice I made resulted in the untimely and tragic deaths of two innocent people, one of whom was still practically a kid, would be worse than any amount of jail time. Maybe I have too much faith in people, but I am of the opinion that one would have to be a special kind of dumb to have not learned from this mistake. Prisons should be reserved for criminals such as murderers, rapists, molesters, kidnappers, etc.
      GO MUSTANG
      • 6 Months Ago
      What are the rules in the US about this? And does it apply on highways only or regular streets too? Reason I ask is because people here stop randomly in the middle of the street all the time. Sometimes in very dangerous situations like right after a turn they will just stop out of the blue like they want you to hit them. Then there are the idiots driving through our residential area very slowly then suddenly stop. There are cars parked on both sides of the street so there is no way to serve or pass the slowly moving car. It annoys the hell out of me, but my understanding was always if you hit someone, its your fault.
      BipDBo
      • 6 Months Ago
      This is a very bad verdict. She pulled over as far as she could up to a concrete barrier, put on her emergency blinkers and the parking brake. Most importantly, she was REAR ended. Perhaps she should not have done it, but that does not make her guilty of criminal negligence. What if she had stopped because of the car breaking down? The fault of the accident was with the motorcycle rider.
        FuelToTheFire
        • 6 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Hey, MORON, whose problem is it but hers if her car breaks down? She should have took it upon herself by buying new cars often to prevent the likelihood of an old car breaking down. Or she could have bought a car with a higher reliability rating. Regardless, if the car breaks down, it is HER fault, and if someone rear ends her, SHE should be held liable.
          Carpinions
          • 6 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Someone ban this troll, please.
          Jesus!
          • 6 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          You are calling him a moron? You are joking right? Do you know how laws work or do you just make them up as you go? I'm not calling you a moron because that's RUDE but you sure are misinformed.
          FuelToTheFire
          • 6 Months Ago *Edited*
          @FuelToTheFire
          My drover's Ed teacher was my JV football coach. I aced his class for sure even though I didn't do ****, while he failed the nerds and tards no matter how hard they tried. :) Good times. And one thing which I am proud of is the fact that I didn't study AT ALL for my driving test and somehow (barely) passed.
          BipDBo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          My guess is, you didn't pass driver's ed. In a rear end accident, it's the fault of the one behind.
          SpacemanSpiff
          • 6 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Oh, now the real truth comes out, you ARE a moron! So, your teacher didn't make you do jack in drivers ed while he purposely failed other people who probably DID know what the hell they were doing? I hope that prick is not a drivers ed teacher OR a JV coach anymore, Screw him! Then after not studying or learning a thing you went and BARELY passed, and you want to brag about that on here while calling other people morons? Seriously, they set the bar pretty low already for getting a license, barely passing is no reason to brag. Wow.
        Famsert
        • 6 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Except all the articles have pointed out she did NOT have her hazards on you nitwit. "Tessier said she noticed that the parked car did not have its hazards on and the driver’s door was open" http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/06/20/jury-finds-woman-guilty-for-causing-deaths-of-two-bikers-when-she-stopped-to-save-ducks-on-highway/
        Jesus!
        • 6 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        I agree Bip. Its a sad senseless loss, however, each driver has a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings and to not follow too close. This lady does not deserve jail time.
        BipDBo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Looking at it more, she pulled over on the left where there was only maybe 2 ft of shoulder when she could have pulled over to the right. Undoubtedly, the ducks were on the left. Proper driving leaves enough room to stop for a stopped obstacle. The motorcycle only barely slowed down before impact so he was obviously following far too close behind the car in front of him (which swerved to avoid Czornobaj's car). So to revise, I'd say that Czornobaj was partially responsible, but that the motorcycler likely has most of the guilt. I don't think, personally, that jail time is appropriate. A friend of mine was in a similar accident a long time ago. It was on the Howard Franklin bridge in Tampa Bay. A cop car pulled over on the right shoulder to help a motorist who was broken down. The cop (female if I remember right) did not pull all the way over in the lane which could have fit her car but rather less than half the cop car was in the shoulder. She obviously did thinking it would make her safer as she walked to the side of the other motorist's car. My friend rear ended the cop car and it pushed it forward into the other car, pinning the police officer between. The police officer survived but was paralyzed. My friend was found at fault, I'd say rightfully. I don't know what his sentence was, but I know he didn't get jail time. He also suffered some serious back injuries from the accident which ended his windsurfing and his campaign for it in the Olympics. he also dealt with great guilt and depression for as long as I knew him after the accident.
      AA
      • 6 Months Ago
      Tow Truck pulled over on shoulder with left wheels in live lane , car hits back of truck.....tow truck at fault? Fire truck pulled over in left lane , right side wheels in live lane, driver hits back of fire truck ....firefighters at fault? Construction workers in left lane ..........etc This biker hit her from behind he is at fault period. He was 20 over the speed limit and she was pulled over as far as she could go. If her hazards were on...or not does not matter as if you are pulled over because of a failed alternator you would not be able to use your hazards. Whatever her reason for stopping does not matter , what matters is how she stopped and she did everything right.
        mic414
        • 6 Months Ago
        @AA
        I always wondered why is there space on many US highways (and apparently Canada) in the left lane to stop the car. I've seen stopped cars there myself. In Europe there isn't any room on the left, and everyone knows that you do NOT stop a car in the left lane, ever. So from that point of view, the highway standards are also at fault as they are inviting a very dangerous behavior. With that said, it's a very sad story. It was a stupid thing to do but she meant no harm. I wouldn't sentence her to jail, she probably suffered enough, being the person she likely is, wanting to save ducklings and accidentally killing two humans. Also, the biker was very likely at fault too. It wasn't a result of her sudden braking, she was outside the stopped car when it happened. One shouldn't be driving into a stopped car, even if it's illegally parked.
      justgoawaymad
      • 6 Months Ago
      She deserves to rot in jail, to stupid to drive thats for sure, who the hell stops on a highway in the left lane??? EVEN if your car breaks you try to coast to the right.
        Kumar
        • 6 Months Ago
        @justgoawaymad
        Who runs a red light while speeding? Same result is likely with a car in motion colliding with a car barely moving. Besides, the penalties for killing someone with your car, especially when you're not using the vehicle as a weapon, are miniscule compared to murder/manslaughter in the US. I imagine there's a similar deal going on in Canada.
      postpast
      • 6 Months Ago
      I complete disagree with people on here saying that the motorcycle was somehow at fault because he should have seen the car. As the witnesses stated the truck with travel trailer in front on the bike had to violently swerve around her car while she had it PARKED in the middle on the left lane of a major, limited access highway. When the truck in front of the bike swerved, the bike would have had maybe a second to react to a parked car while traveling 120 kmp/h. This girl decided to stop her car in the middle of the left lane of a major highway, then put it into park, get out and go over a barricade in order to try and capture the ducks to take home with her. Not only did she not pull off the road, she didn't even put on her 4 way lights. I personally see zero difference between her actions and someone who kills a family while driving totally hammered. In both cases the driver has no intention of hurting anyone, but makes a stupid, dangerous and illegal decision which results in the death of innocent people. I think that 3 years jail time and a lifetime driving ban would be a fair sentence. It makes me a little sick that people are defending her actions here.
        Pj Taintz
        • 6 Months Ago
        @postpast
        i would argue the driver in the truck in front of him should have moved over sooner, he had to have seen the car. Also if the bike rider was so close to the trailer that he couldnt handle it, he was tailgating not that any of that excuses this idiot woman parking in the road
          Chris
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Pj Taintz
          At the end of the day, it's all a drop in the bucket when you consider that the woman was parked in the middle of the highway. That's the issue here and what caused the accident.
        George Not Bush
        • 6 Months Ago
        @postpast
        Sorry, he was following the trailer too closely. He applied the brakes ONE second before impact. Don't expect to live very long if you drive at 120 km/h looking only 2 seconds ahead.
          11fiveoh
          • 6 Months Ago
          @George Not Bush
          If a travel trailer had enough time to swerve, surely a motorcycle would have had ample time to avoid the collision. Chances are he was going much too fast, flying up on the trailer, he saw the trailer move thinking it was getting out of his way, accelerated and bam.
          Chris
          • 6 Months Ago
          @George Not Bush
          11fiveoh, That's assuming that the guy on the motorcycle was some kind of professional stunt driver performing in an action movie and would know exactly what to do in just a couple seconds time to avoid slamming into a stopped car while traveling at highway speeds with his precious cargo on the back. In reality, most would not know exactly what to do in just such a situation, and would either react out of fear, which can lead to devastating results in its own right, or just freeze up. The guy in the truck had a few more options in avoiding hitting the stopped car, and the confidence of knowing he's surrounded by thousands of lbs of metal, airbags, crumple zones etc. He could swerve out of the way, possibly spin out, or crash into a ditch or guard rail, and very likely walk away from the accident. None of that is the case with the guy on the bike as any of the above is almost certainly going to result in either serious injuries or death for him and his passenger. When comparing the guy in the truck to the guy on the motorcycle, you have to consider the human psyche. One's likely going to be feeling a lot more afraid and vulnerable, and that can have a profoundly negative effect on one's split second decision making process in a situation like this.
        Autoholics Anonymous
        • 6 Months Ago
        @postpast
        I can testify that people who stop(park) on a highway can cause significant danger to their fellow road goers. In fact I had my first ever wreck back in 2008 because I came around a dark corner (at 35mph mind you) and rear ended a car stopped in my lane. There was no way I was going to see the elderly lady in a '90's jet black Maxima attempting to make a left hand turn (on a highway!) and have enough time to stop completely.
      knightrider_6
      • 6 Months Ago
      I have no sympathy for people who chose to ride a motorcycle instead of a car. Cars have rigid steel frames, air bags, seat belts, collapsible steerings to prevent this kind of injuries. If people chose to ride a bike instead of a car, that too on a highway then it is their fault
        Colin
        • 6 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        Not even a little bit of sympathy? A friend of mine very nearly lost control of her car when she jammed on her brakes to miss a rabbit. The rabbit survived, we nearly didn't. She loves rabbits you see. I, however, merely like rabbits, a little, I like myself a lot more!
        RJ
        • 6 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        knightrider, I hope you drive in an armored tank, or else I have no sympathy when I plow you and your family car/SUV/pickup to death in my 32,000 lbs bus...
        Larry Litmanen
        • 6 Months Ago
        @knightrider_6
        I see what you are saying, dad was an idiot but the girl was just 16 years old and the duck lady is clearly at fault and looking at her face she clearly could not care less about the deaths she caused.
          11fiveoh
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Larry Litmanen
          Really? A lady compationate enough to stop and try to save ducks doesnt care that they died? I'm going to bet that's not the case. Motorcycle was at fault. End of story.
      Kyle Chessman
      • 6 Months Ago
      Last time I checked, it was the responsibility of driver's to keep ample space between them and the car in front of them so that they have time to stop. The motorcycle rider should have been able to stop, even if she slammed on her brakes. She definitely shouldn't have stopped in the middle of the highway, but I think the motorcycle rider is at fault for tailgating.
        Jmaister
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kyle Chessman
        but that dont mean you fcking stop on the highway, right there! right then! you DONT stop on the highway. I am a bird lover, I would not stop my car on the highway, I fcking pull over to a safe place if there's one. If it were my own pets i would still pull over. fcking morons trying to defend this chick.
          Kyle Chessman
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Jmaister
          If it was a moose in the highway, she would have stopped because that's what a normal person would do, and the motorcycle rider still would have rear ended her. It would still be the motorcycle riders fault. Like I said, she shouldn't have stopped in the middle of the road, but my point stands that the motorcycle rider is at fault for tailgating.
        Chris
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kyle Chessman
        It'd be nice to know more details of the accident before coming to such a conclusion. For instance what was the speed limit on the road, and where was she stopped? We know she was stopped in the left lane, but was it in a place where she could be seen far enough in advance, or just over the crest of a hill? Also, what kind of vehicle was he traveling behind? Was it just a car, or perhaps a van or truck that he couldn't see over? There are a lot of details left out of this story. Lastly, avoiding a stopped car on a highway is a little easier for most of us when you're in a car, firmly planted on 4 wheels, and surrounded by thousands of lbs of metal and air bags than while on a motorcycle where even just suddenly yanking on the breaks or swerving out of the way can have deadly results. She's as much at fault as anyone involved just for voluntarily stopping right in the middle of the left lane of the highway. Being aware of your surroundings is one thing, but no one expects, or should expect, to be riding on the highway only to have to slam on the brakes at the last second to avoid hitting some idiot who made the choice to stop in the middle of the road for any reason.
        Daekwan
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Kyle Chessman
        Hopefully some drivers will park their car in front of you on the highway. So you can realize how stupid that statement is.
      Natural
      • 6 Months Ago
      What if her vehicle had broken down? Does she get charged then too? How about a child runs in front of her? It's your responsibility as a driver to make sure you're far enough behind the car in front of you to safely stop, even if that car applies full brakes in an emergency situation. She clearly displayed door judgment and should not be allowed to drive in Canada again, but criminal charges and jail time serve no purpose in this scenario.
        Mike
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Natural
        sure it does, it makes a point to idiots that stop in the middle of the road with disregard for other human life. If her car broke down in the middle of the road she'd still be responsible, it's HER car.
      A A
      • 6 Months Ago
      The conviction is a travesty. There are many examples of vehicles that can be stopped on a freeway in traffic; the excessive speeding and inability of the motorcyclist to avoid the car could be applied in any of those examples.
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