MONTREAL – For the first time in close to four years, Emma Czornobaj gave her side of the story.
The driver at the centre of the duck-involved highway crash in June 2010 took the stand in her own defence Tuesday afternoon.
She made it clear in the first few minutes of her testimony that she regrets stopping her car in the left lane of a major Quebec highway to help some ducks.
“I just wanted to pick up all those ducklings and put them in my car,” Czornobaj said.
“I know it was a mistake.”
The 25-year-old Concordia University graduate told the jury she decided to stop her vehicle because, in her opinion, she “felt there was no risk.”
She told court she stopped only for a short time – about 20 seconds.
The woman told court several times she put her hazard/emergency lights on before stepping out her car – a claim disputed by some Crown witnesses.
Czornobaj said she was chasing “seven or eight ducks.”
When she decided to walk back to her car, she says she saw a motorcycle crash into her Honda Civic.
“I saw somebody go into the air,” she testified, choking back tears.
“It didn’t seem real.”
Sixteen-year-old Jessie Roy and her 50-year-old father, Andre Roy, were killed in the crash.
The father was driving a blue Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Czornobaj is facing four charges: two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.
Earlier in the day, Sgt.-Det. Samuel Beaudet, an accident reconstruction expert from the Surete-du-Quebec, took the stand and told the court Roy was likely speeding before the crash.
According to his report, he was driving at around 115 km/h moments before slamming into the vehicle.
The speed limit on that stretch of the road is 100 km/h.
Czornobaj is expected to be back on the stand Wednesday morning.
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