The newspaper headline reads: She stopped to rescue ducklings, and people died. It is a sad story about a young woman in Canada named Emma Czornobaj who apparently stopped her car on a Canadian highway to herd a family of ducklings and their mother across the road. Something is wrong with this story. But it is not a rare occurrence. I know.
Well, in the above case, the incident brought about the death of two people: fifty-year old Andre Roy and his sixteen-year old daughter Jessie, on a motorcycle. The court says she stopped her car to aid a family of ducklings (say up to15 + mama duck). My question is, it sounds like a case of careless tailgating (or am I wrong)? How did this driver not find it easy to avoid such a bad accident happening? There is only one explanation. It is a pet peeve with me for 68 years as a safe driver.
Now, two people are dead. Miss Czornobaj has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and her license suspended for 10 years.
Why do I bring this up as a defense for this young lady. She is an animal lover like me, perhaps. But it truly is a form of natural motherhood by a duck or goose. In the city of Rochester, NY, a bank had a natural set aside area which attracted a number of wildlife. A mother duck had a brood of maybe 12 or so ducklings which she brought out onto the sidewalk of busy downtown Rochester. She used her quack language guiding and instructing her ducklings. They stopped at the crosswalk where she had directed them. A policeman directing traffic at the Main St. and Clinton Ave. crossing, held up traffic even though the light was green for the main street traffic and blew his whistle and waved the ducks to cross. Apparently the mother duck knew the cop was giving her help everyday in this manner. The ducklings and mama duck crossed the street at their leisure pace and continued on the sidewalk down Clinton Ave. No one was hurt. No one had an accident. Most people found the experience sort of human and wonderful. And this was reversed later that day at the same crossing, every day until city workers had them cornered and picked up to transport them into the wild.
As a driver, I’ve come across hundreds of idiot drivers who tailgate so close that you cannot see their headlights. I say idiots because they have no place to go anyway since I am following traffic ahead and speed with the flow of traffic. These nuts who whip their vehicles (of various kinds and makes) out to pass and then give me a stare and cut in front where I shiver at having my front left fender smashed time and again. I witness numerous accidents caused by careless driving–some multi-car pileups that include school buses.
Some of the cities in New York where drivers stink are Utica, Ithaca, Syracuse, Rochester and surrounding towns. If you don’t need to travel through them–don’t!
So, experience of this driver would guess that death came to such a pair in the above case. She, of course was guilty of stopping to give ducklings a chance to cross a highway. How else could they get to the other side. Think about it. Ducks are and most wildlife deserve to share our land. As compassionate humans, the local Rochesterians who use our sidewalks recognize the need to accommodate our feathered friends, and drivers need to obey the traffic cop on the beat.