Woman who caused fatal crash stopping for ducks to be sentenced - News Hunter Magazine


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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Woman who caused fatal crash stopping for ducks to be sentenced

A case that has drawn out raw emotions across Canada will be coming to
a conclusion on Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Elaine Perrault in Quebec is expected to announce
the sentence for 26-year-old Emma Czornobaj, a motorist who stopped
her car in the left lane of a highway in the Montreal area in 2010 to
check on some ducklings on the road, leading to the death of a
motorcyclist and his teen daughter.

Though the maximum sentences for the crimes for which Czornobaj has
been convicted are life in prison, thousands of people have signed
petitions asking for leniency for Czornobaj. But the family of the
motorcyclist Andre Roy, then 50, and Jessie Roy, 16, who rode on the
back of the motorcycle, have said Czornobaj did not show remorse or
apologize to them in a timely way when she had the opportunity.

Reached Tuesday night at home, Pauline Volikakis, Andre Roy's wife and
Jesse Roy's mother, said she had no comment on the case. "I'll wait to
see what's going on," Volikakis said, referring to the judge's

Defense lawyer Marc Labelle did not respond to voice mail messages
left with his office. Labelle has said that his client "was stupid"
but did not act under any ill will.

On June 27, 2010, Czornobaj was driving westbound along Highway 30 in
Candiac, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, when she came upon about seven
ducklings in the road.

She stopped her Honda Civic in the left lane of the highway to make
sure the ducklings were OK. While she was stopped, Roy's motorcycle
crashed into the rear of her car.

Czornobaj initially told police she had her hazard lights on, but
witnesses testified in court that she did not, according to the
National Post.

An expert with the Quebec national police, the Surete du Quebec,
estimated that Roy was driving his motorcycle at about 65
miles-per-hour when he struck the back of Czornobaj's Honda Civic,
according to the National Post. Andre Roy died immediately and Jessie
Roy died later at a hospital.

The case has stirred emotions in Canada. Thousands of people have
signed a petition on the website Change.org asking for leniency for
Czornobaj, and a recent editorial declared that punishing Czornobaj
would not bring back the father and daughter killed.

But the family of the victims have said Czornobaj has not shown
compassion toward them. Though Czornobaj publicly apologized to the
family in July, she never did in person when she had the chance,
Volikakis said.

"She never once tried to contact me," Volikakis said, explaining she
once ran into Czornobaj in a restroom during the trial. "She held a
straight face and looked the other way," Volikakis said.

Czornobaj's mother, Mary Hogan, said during a hearing that the
incident had changed her daughter.

"It was something she couldn't talk about or share with us at all,"
Hogan said. "She just couldn't accept that it had happened."

On June 20, almost four years to the day of the fatal accident, a
Canadian jury found Czornobaj guilty of two counts of criminal
negligence causing death, which carries a maximum life sentence, and
dangerous operation of a motor vehicle leading to death, which carries
a maximum sentence of 14 years.

The prosector, Annie Claude Chasse, asked that Czornobaj serve nine
months in prison and 240 hours of community service. Labelle agreed
with the community service but asked that Czornobaj served no jail

Volikakis told Canada's National Post that she had never received an
apology from Czornobaj.

Czornobaj's mother, Mary Hogan, told the National Post that her
daughter was on the dean's list and headed for a successful life when
the accident happened. Now, now one will hire her. "It changed who she
was at her very core," Hogan told the news organization.


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