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

QuebecCanadian

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Apr 13, 2014
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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



© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette




Unusual court case may test limits of criminal negligence, dangerous driving charges




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

gerryh

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Nov 21, 2004
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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.
 

gopher

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Jun 26, 2005
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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.
 

QuebecCanadian

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Apr 13, 2014
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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 ***.
 

bill barilko

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Mar 4, 2009
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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.
 
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JLM

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Nov 27, 2008
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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



© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette




Unusual court case may test limits of criminal negligence, dangerous driving charges




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!!
 

JLM

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Nov 27, 2008
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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

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Nov 14, 2006
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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

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
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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

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Nov 21, 2004
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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.

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"?

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

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 27, 2008
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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.