No leniency for Emma Czornobaj, says wife and mother of victims
Pauline Volikakis lost her husband and only child when Czornobaj stopped on highway to help ducks
Pauline Volikakis says she wants Emma Czornobaj to face a sentence that reflects the gravity of her decision to stop in the passing lane of a highway to help ducks trying to cross the road.
That decision back in the summer of 2010 cost the lives of Volikakis’s husband André Roy, 50, and 16-year-old daughter Jessie, whose motorcycle slammed into the back of Czornobaj’s parked car at high speed.
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Volikakis, who was following her husband and daughter on her own motorcycle at the time of the crash, made her case against leniency at Czornobaj’s sentence hearing on Friday.
“Hey, wake up, people,” she said. “You are saying that this person’s negligent driving that caused the deaths of two people — my husband and my daughter — is to be treated as an action that should be overlooked? Would you turn your back and look the other way if it happened to you?”
Volikakis was referring to efforts by Czornobaj, her lawyers and supporters to keep her out of prison.
A jury found Czornobaj, 25, guilty in June on two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death in the 2010 incident.
The Crown is seeking a nine month prison term for Czornobaj and 240 hours of community service.
The defence agrees with the 240 hours of community service, but is arguing for a suspended sentence with three years of probation, saying there was no criminal intent.
Despite a public apology to Volikakis from Czornobaj in an interview with CBC News in July, the grieving wife and mother said Czornobaj should have done so sooner — and to her personally.
“Why didn’t she do so following the accident? She never once tried to contact me. During the trial she had opportunities to speak to me,” Volikakis said.
At one point, Volikakis said she even ran into Czornobaj alone in the bathroom during the trial.
“She held a straight face and looked the other way,” Volikakis said.
Czornobaj’s mother, Mary Hogan, told Friday's hearing that her daughter is sorry about the accident, which has affected her profoundly.
“It changed who she was, at her very core… It was something she couldn’t talk about or share with us at all… She just couldn’t accept that it had happened,” she said.
Justice Éliane Perreault is expected to rule on Czornobaj's sentence December 18.