Emma Czornobaj was sentenced to 90 days in jail for a duck crossing incident, which left two people dead. In addition to the jail time, Czornobaj was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service. The Judge also suspended the 26-year-old woman’s driving privileges for a period of 10 years.
In June 2010, Czornobaj abruptly stopped her vehicle on Quebec Highway 30. According to reports, the young woman stopped to check on seven ducklings, which were crossing the busy road.
As reported by USA Today, witnesses said Emma Czornobaj failed to turn on her hazard lights when she stopped. As a result, 50-year-old Andre Roy crashed into the back of her car with his motorcycle. Roy and his 16-year-old daughter, Jessie, who was his passenger, were killed by the impact.
Czornobaj was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a vehicle leading to death. The negligence charge alone carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Emma Czornobaj said “there was nobody around” when she stopped her vehicle. She also argued that her hazard lights were on when the accident occurred. She stated that she was simply trying to gather the duckings, as she wanted to take them somewhere safe. She never intended for anyone to get hurt.
In June 2014, a Canadian jury found the defendant guilty on all charges. Although she was facing life in prison, prosecutor Annie Claude Chasse recommended a sentence of nine months in prison.
On Thursday, Czornobaj was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 240 hours of community service, and a 10-year license suspension. During sentencing, Justice Éliane Perreault said the defendant “knowingly engaged in risk-taking that she should have foreseen would put other drivers’ lives in danger.”
As reported by Montreal Gazette, Justice Perreault also discussed Emma Czornobaj’s apparent lack of remorse and the “denial of her responsibility” in the accident that ended two lives.
Although Czornobaj apologized for the accident in a public statement, the Roy family said “she never once” offered a personal apology.
The defendant’s mother, Mary Hogan, said her daughter “just couldn’t accept that it had happened.” She said the accident “changed who she was at her very core.”
Prior to the accident, Emma Czornobaj “was on the dean’s list and headed for a successful life.” Hogan said her daughter is still struggling to cope with the aftermath of the tragedy.