Emma Czornobaj, of Montreal, was found guilty of criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death on Friday. Criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The verdict stems from a 2010 incident, in which Czornobaj pulled over onto the side of a highway in Candiac, Quebec, where she tried to rescue seven ducklings. She told a court that she didn't see the ducklings' mother and decided to take them home.
André Roy, 50, and his teen daughter, Jessie, were driving down the highway on their motorcycle when they fatally crashed into the back of Czornobaj's Honda Civic moments later. Roy's wife, Pauline Volikakis, who was driving on her own motorcycle, crashed into the Civic and suffered serious injuries.
"Future and present drivers should know that we don't stop on highways, and it's very dangerous. Even if it's a small animal that we like or that we want to preserve, we should not stop on the highways," Volikakis said. "It's not a place to stop."
Czornobaj's lawyer, Marc Labelle, acknowledged that his client had behaved dangerously, but said the judge and jury had unfairly approached the case.
"Here we have a situation where the act was considered dangerous by the jury -- that's obvious. But there was no ill will at all -- no alcohol, no speeding, no race. In a case like this, the instructions that the judge gave [to the jury] are a little bit unjust for a citizen in this situation," Labelle said.
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