Woman who helped ducks could face life in prison

MONTREAL -- A Canadian woman is found guilty after she parked her car on a highway to help a group of ducklings on the side of the road causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into her car.

Emma Czornobaj was convicted by a jury on two counts of dangerous driving causing death--which comes with a maximum of 14 years of jail and two counts of criminal negligence causing death; a charge that carries a maximum life sentence.

Among the two fatalities were 50-year-old Andre Roy and his 16-year-old daughter Jessie.

The 25-year-old Czornobaj was in tears when the verdict was read. Quebec Superior Court Justice Eliane Perreault said the 12-member jury voted unanimously.

Czornobaj will remain released until her pre-sentence hearing on August 8th.

The motorcyclist slammed into Czornobaj's car that was stopped in the left lane of a provincial highway south of Montreal in 2010.

Czornobaj a self-professed animal lover, told the court that she did not see the ducklings' mother anywhere and she planned to capture them and safely take them home.

Marc Labelle, Czornobaj's defense attorney, said the Canadian woman was stunned by the verdict.

Defense 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."

The wife and mother of the man and child killed, Pauline Volikakis, fought back tears when she left the courtroom.

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

Prosecutor Annie-Claude Chasse 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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