Motorcyclist and daughter killed when woman braked on highway to avoid hitting ducks


QuebecCanadian
#1
MONTREAL — A jury is expected to begin hearing evidence Tuesday at the Montreal courthouse in a case that might test the limits of charges such as criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death.


Emma Czornobaj, 25, of Châteauguay, faces two counts each of criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death stemming from an accident on June 27, 2010, where she suddenly braked on Highway 30 in Candiac to avoid hitting a family of ducks.
Andre Roy, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Jessie were riding on a motorcycle behind Czornobaj’s car and died as a result of the accident.


The charges Czornobaj faces were filed at the Longueuil courthouse more than a year later, on August 16, 2011. Earlier this year, a judge agreed to a change-of-venue request that saw the case transferred to Montreal.


Czornobaj entered a not guilty plea to all four charges she faces after the jury was selected. Czornobaj was accompanied by relatives Monday as Superior Court Justice Éliane Perreault presided over the jury selection. The fifth-floor courtroom the case was assigned to was modified a few years ago to include a large, imposing prisoner’s dock intended to hold many accused at one time behind thick windows that stretch nearly as high as the ceiling. Czornobaj, who was charged by summons, is not detained and will not be required to sit in the prisoner’s dock for her trial.


The charges she faces are very serious. She is accused under a section of the Criminal Code that calls for a maximum life sentence if she is convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The other charge, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, carries a maximum 14-year prison term upon conviction.


Perreault informed the people who were selected for the jury that the trial is expected to last about three weeks. Eight witnesses will be called by the prosecution, including a mechanic, a coroner and at least two police officers.


The jury was selected within six hours and includes a disproportionate ratio of men to women — 10 to two. A woman and a man were chosen as alternate jurors in case any of the other twelve are not able to show up for the trial on Tuesday. Before jury selection began, Perreault asked all potential jurors to disclose whether they had been the victims of a car accident or knew someone who had been in one. One man said he was injured in a car accident when he was a teenager after letting a friend drive his car. At least two other people from the jury pool said they knew people who died in car accidents. All were disqualified as potential jurors.
Included among the jurors are two retirees, a legal assistant, an engineer and a purchaser for a retail store. In the coming days, they will be asked to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the accident involved criminal negligence or if they have heard enough evidence to find the accused guilty of dangerous driving causing death.


Czornobaj will be represented by Marc Labelle. The Crown will be represented by two prosecutors from Longueuil — Annie-Claude Chasse and Sylvie Villeneuve.


pcherry@montrealgazette.com (external - login to view)



© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette




Unusual court case may test limits of criminal negligence, dangerous driving charges (external - login to view)




Stupid yes...but criminal negligence? I will be curious to see how this plays out.
 
gerryh
+13
#2  Top Rated Post
When following behind another vehicle, you are required to ensure that you have a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you to ensure that you have enough room and time to stop should the need arise. Obviously the motorcyclist didn't. His fault.
 
QuebecCanadian
#3
The story goes that she stopped dead on the highway in a curve and got out to shoo the ducks away. The motorcyclist came around the corner at highway speeds and didn't have time to stop or swerve.


Braking to save ducks leads to highway carnage and criminal trial - The Globe and Mail
 
gopher
+1
#4
It's illegal to stop on a highway especially if there is much traffic and the flow is at a quick pace. In Gopherland one is always responsible to be aware of those both in front and in back of you. Braking distances are much longer for motobikes and she would be required to be aware that one was behind her. Dunno how the law is like in Quebec but if it similar to what we have here and assuming the narrative above is correct, she would likely be found guilty of criminal liability.
 
gerryh
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by QuebecCanadianView Post

The story goes that she stopped dead on the highway in a curve and got out to shoo the ducks away. The motorcyclist came around the corner at highway speeds and didn't have time to stop or swerve.


Braking to save ducks leads to highway carnage and criminal trial - The Globe and Mail


Well, that makes a big difference.
 
QuebecCanadian
+3
#6
I tell you one thing...since I heard this story, I think about it every time an animal crosses my path while I'm driving. I'll slow down but that animal had better haul ***.
 
petros
+2
#7
Roadkill is cheap dog food.
 
SLM
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Roadkill is cheap dog food.

Except when you run over a dog. Then it's doggy cannibalism.
 
bill barilko
#9
Long ago in another century I was taught that a person never ever braked for a small animal-their lives are worth that much less and that's life.

If she really was stopped on a curve shooing ducks across the road she should hang.
Last edited by bill barilko; Jun 2nd, 2014 at 11:06 PM..
 
JLM
+1
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by QuebecCanadianView Post

MONTREAL — A jury is expected to begin hearing evidence Tuesday at the Montreal courthouse in a case that might test the limits of charges such as criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death.


Emma Czornobaj, 25, of Châteauguay, faces two counts each of criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death stemming from an accident on June 27, 2010, where she suddenly braked on Highway 30 in Candiac to avoid hitting a family of ducks.
Andre Roy, 50, and his 16-year-old daughter Jessie were riding on a motorcycle behind Czornobaj’s car and died as a result of the accident.


The charges Czornobaj faces were filed at the Longueuil courthouse more than a year later, on August 16, 2011. Earlier this year, a judge agreed to a change-of-venue request that saw the case transferred to Montreal.


Czornobaj entered a not guilty plea to all four charges she faces after the jury was selected. Czornobaj was accompanied by relatives Monday as Superior Court Justice Éliane Perreault presided over the jury selection. The fifth-floor courtroom the case was assigned to was modified a few years ago to include a large, imposing prisoner’s dock intended to hold many accused at one time behind thick windows that stretch nearly as high as the ceiling. Czornobaj, who was charged by summons, is not detained and will not be required to sit in the prisoner’s dock for her trial.


The charges she faces are very serious. She is accused under a section of the Criminal Code that calls for a maximum life sentence if she is convicted of criminal negligence causing death. The other charge, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, carries a maximum 14-year prison term upon conviction.


Perreault informed the people who were selected for the jury that the trial is expected to last about three weeks. Eight witnesses will be called by the prosecution, including a mechanic, a coroner and at least two police officers.


The jury was selected within six hours and includes a disproportionate ratio of men to women — 10 to two. A woman and a man were chosen as alternate jurors in case any of the other twelve are not able to show up for the trial on Tuesday. Before jury selection began, Perreault asked all potential jurors to disclose whether they had been the victims of a car accident or knew someone who had been in one. One man said he was injured in a car accident when he was a teenager after letting a friend drive his car. At least two other people from the jury pool said they knew people who died in car accidents. All were disqualified as potential jurors.
Included among the jurors are two retirees, a legal assistant, an engineer and a purchaser for a retail store. In the coming days, they will be asked to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the accident involved criminal negligence or if they have heard enough evidence to find the accused guilty of dangerous driving causing death.


Czornobaj will be represented by Marc Labelle. The Crown will be represented by two prosecutors from Longueuil — Annie-Claude Chasse and Sylvie Villeneuve.


pcherry@montrealgazette.com (external - login to view)



© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette




Unusual court case may test limits of criminal negligence, dangerous driving charges (external - login to view)




Stupid yes...but criminal negligence? I will be curious to see how this plays out.


A no brainer and a huge waste of public funds! - IDIOTS!!
 
petros
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Except when you run over a dog. Then it's doggy cannibalism.

Explain hot dogs.
 
gerryh
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

A no brainer and a huge waste of public funds! - IDIOTS!!


ya? No brainer? SO tell us Oh wise one.
 
JLM
+1
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

ya? No brainer? SO tell us Oh wise one.


F**K you Gerry, you figure it out!
 
gerryh
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

F**K you Gerry, you figure it out!


No really, tell us. I want to see if you actually read the thread before posting.
 
SLM
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Explain hot dogs.

Nobody can do that!
 
JLM
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

No really, tell us. I want to see if you actually read the thread before posting.


Yeah, I wouldn't have posted otherwise. There is no law (to my knowledge) against braking if you perceive a possible danger, regardless it's a natural reaction. Motorists following are supposed to be a safe distance back and anticipating the possibility of the vehicle ahead making a sudden stop.
 
talloola
#17
she probably should have pulled off of the highway, then stopped, then make sure of traffic coming,

before stepping onto the road again.

how would it have been any different if she had of stopped quickly to avoid running over the family
of ducks, would she then be innocent, as traffic behind her must have been too close.

there is a law in the driving manual stating how far one should stay behind, and it is further with
more speed.

if i was driving, i would have stopped for any animal crossing the road, and the person behind me better
stop too, one could be going at high speeds on certain highways, so, get further behind.
i would know if a big truck was roaring along right behind me, then the ducks
would have become road kill.

when i was about 19 yrs old, driving on kingsway, right near main street, in vancouver, traffic 'everywhere', i
stopped, everyone stopped behind me, i got out of the car, signalled to everyone who was driving
toward me to stop, then walk over to the middle of the road and picked up an injured bird, walked
back, got in my car, handed the bird to my passenger, and continued on my way.

of course we weren't travelling at out of town highway speeds, probably was doing about 30 mph,
it all worked just fine, no one got mad, everyone stopped, waited then continued as well,
the bird survived at home in a box for a few hours, then flew away, a happy ending.
 
petros
#18
Ducklings that were born in a roadside pond will return to raise their own ducklings and that spot will continue to have duck issues. Over conservation is becoming an issue.
 
gerryh
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by JLMView Post

Yeah, I wouldn't have posted otherwise. There is no law (to my knowledge) against braking if you perceive a possible danger, regardless it's a natural reaction. Motorists following are supposed to be a safe distance back and anticipating the possibility of the vehicle ahead making a sudden stop.

No, you obviously didn't read the entire thread before posting.

Quote: Originally Posted by QuebecCanadianView Post

The story goes that she stopped dead on the highway in a curve and got out to shoo the ducks away. The motorcyclist came around the corner at highway speeds and didn't have time to stop or swerve.


Braking to save ducks leads to highway carnage and criminal trial - The Globe and Mail


TVA reported at the time that Ms. Czornobaj was outside the fully stopped car, standing on the highway shoulder, and that Ms. Volikakis recalled hearing Mr. Roy shouting at the driver to watch out before he collided with the car.


See that? She was standing outside her stopped vehicle in the passing lane. She didn't just suddenly stop.

AND

Even without the two deaths, Ms. Czornobaj could have been faulted for breaching Section 384 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which says that no one can stop a vehicle on a roadway where the maximum speed is 70 kilometres per hour or more, “unless in case of necessity.”


Or do ducks constitute a "necessity"?

Quote: Originally Posted by talloolaView Post

she probably should have pulled off of the highway, then stopped, then make sure of traffic coming,

before stepping onto the road again.

how would it have been any different if she had of stopped quickly to avoid running over the family
of ducks, would she then be innocent, as traffic behind her must have been too close.

there is a law in the driving manual stating how far one should stay behind, and it is further with
more speed.

if i was driving, i would have stopped for any animal crossing the road, and the person behind me better
stop too, one could be going at high speeds on certain highways, so, get further behind.
i would know if a big truck was roaring along right behind me, then the ducks
would have become road kill.

when i was about 19 yrs old, driving on kingsway, right near main street, in vancouver, traffic 'everywhere', i
stopped, everyone stopped behind me, i got out of the car, signalled to everyone who was driving
toward me to stop, then walk over to the middle of the road and picked up an injured bird, walked
back, got in my car, handed the bird to my passenger, and continued on my way.

of course we weren't travelling at out of town highway speeds, probably was doing about 30 mph,
it all worked just fine, no one got mad, everyone stopped, waited then continued as well,
the bird survived at home in a box for a few hours, then flew away, a happy ending.


She had time to stop and get out of her vehicle in THE PASSING LANE of the highway. She didn't make a sudden stop.
 
JLM
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by gerryhView Post

No, you obviously didn't read the entire thread before posting.




TVA reported at the time that Ms. Czornobaj was outside the fully stopped car, standing on the highway shoulder, and that Ms. Volikakis recalled hearing Mr. Roy shouting at the driver to watch out before he collided with the car.


See that? She was standing outside her stopped vehicle in the passing lane. She didn't just suddenly stop.

AND

Even without the two deaths, Ms. Czornobaj could have been faulted for breaching Section 384 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which says that no one can stop a vehicle on a roadway where the maximum speed is 70 kilometres per hour or more, “unless in case of necessity.”


Or do ducks constitute a "necessity"?




She had time to stop and get out of her vehicle in THE PASSING LANE of the highway. She didn't make a sudden stop.


None of that was in the account I read. Regardless you are supposed to be driving in such a manner to be able to stop within braking sight distance.
 
Praxius
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by QuebecCanadianView Post

The story goes that she stopped dead on the highway in a curve and got out to shoo the ducks away. The motorcyclist came around the corner at highway speeds and didn't have time to stop or swerve.

Braking to save ducks leads to highway carnage and criminal trial - The Globe and Mail

I didn't see anything in that report noting she was on a bend/curve where she wasn't visible, but I'm not saying that wasn't the case.

Quote:

Even without the two deaths, Ms. Czornobaj could have been faulted for breaching Section 384 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code, which says that no one can stop a vehicle on a roadway where the maximum speed is 70 kilometres per hour or more, “unless in case of necessity.”

Her lawyers will most likely challenge the "Necessity" part of that where she attempted to avoid her own accident. Hitting one animal like a Raccoon or Porcupine is one thing, but hitting a few birds at ground level might be a bit slippery on the wheels and veer her off into the median or in other lanes.... if she tried to compensate too much this way or that at a high speed, she could have flipped.

.... Just being the devil's advocate. :P

However, if she was out of her car and being a wank trying to shoo the birds off the freeway rather than go around them and keep going, then that's just stupid and she thus caused a whole other accident.

And at the same time, the people on the bike should have had more than enough breaking distance and should have been viewing ahead of them to see what was in front of them.... even in a bend in the road, highways, especially four lane highways, are not that sharp of a bend that you are cut off of view from what's around the corner. If it was, then there should have been signs noting for you to reduce speed and even then if there wasn't, it should be common sense that you slow down around a bend anyways, especially when your view up ahead is obstructed.

You don't just race around a bend on a freeway without a care in the world which results in you smashing into another car at full speed to produce death. If they were going fast enough that they had no decent time to slow down or switch to the next lane, then that would suggest they were speeding or they themselves weren't paying attention and thus.... just as careless.
Last edited by Praxius; Jun 3rd, 2014 at 12:52 AM..
 
wulfie68
#22
Stupidity: yes
Breach of Quebec Highway Safety Code: probably
Criminal negligence: a stretch

Its hard not to instinctively fault the motorcyclist, at least partially, as many of them are overly aggressive on their machines, knowing that they can maneuver and stop much better than a car. There should have been forensic calculations done, to estimate the bike's speed at time of impact.

I'll also say people get stupid about saving critters: a safety man I used to work with had a story about how, when he was younger, a close friend of his swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel... and was killed in the subsequent head on his swerving caused on a 2-lane road. He used to tell our guys "brake if you must, but if its not another person, stay firm in your lane".
 
Tecumsehsbones
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by PraxiusView Post

Her lawyers will most likely challenge the "Necessity" part of that where she attempted to avoid her own accident. Hitting one animal like a Raccoon or Porcupine is one thing, but hitting a few birds at ground level might be a bit slippery on the wheels and veer her off into the median or in other lanes.... if she tried to compensate too much this way or that at a high speed, she could have flipped.

Your Honor, I call the Court's attention to the Migratory Bird Treaty. . .
 
relic
#24
Since we're trying different scenarios, a truck in the oncoming lane could have hidden the stopped car, even from a car driver. Stopped in the passing lane !? did I read that right ? And you goomers are defending her ? Christ !
 
Nuggler
#25
Driving on a paved road in local cottage country I came across a new car, fully in the ditch, with a woman behind the wheel, and two little kids in the back seat.
Woman had swerved to avoid a cat.
Wheels caught the shoulder
Hadda been a tree or a rock in the ditch = probably some dead people.
She said help was on the way, so I just kept on

I KNOW my wife would probably have done the same thing cat lover she is.

But pity the stupid cat who walks out in front of the ditch lady in the future.

Still gives me the creepy crawlies thinking bout those kids in the back

Glad I'm not on the jury.
 
JLM
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by relicView Post

Since we're trying different scenarios, a truck in the oncoming lane could have hidden the stopped car, even from a car driver. Stopped in the passing lane !? did I read that right ? And you goomers are defending her ? Christ !


You'd have to be at the at the time of the accident to know for sure in what ratios to assess the blame, but I really doubt if the woman could be held criminally responsible, but could probably be charged for some minor offense under the M.V.A. The guy on the motor cycle was either speeding or following too close or both and is pretty much the author of his own demise. He was almost certainly exceeding the stopping sight distance. I think stopping for the ducks was more a quick reaction than the result of any serious thought which at times like this you don't have time for.
 
Walter
+1
#27
If you hit someone from behind you are always at fault.
 
Cliffy
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Explain hot dogs.

Lips and arseholes.
 
JLM
-1
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

If you hit someone from behind you are always at fault.


Basically BUT there's exceptions to every rule! (Good thinking Walter)
 
bill barilko
-1
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

If you hit someone from behind you are always at fault.

Chronically myopic POV noted.

In any accident scenario it's possible for both parties to be @ fault-one to a greater degree than the other.
 
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