Nfld. & Labrador

Duck family safely crosses highway after police officer stops traffic

A police officer stopped traffic on a busy four-lane divided highway outside Conception Bay South, N.L., on Wednesday to let the duck and ducklings cross.

RNC officer stopped traffic on four-lane divided highway Wednesday evening

RNC Const. Glen Cunningham escorts a duck and ducklings across the Conception Bay South bypass highway Wednesday evening. (Submitted by Jody Foss)

A police officer is being lauded after stopping traffic outside Conception Bay South to let a duck and a line of ducklings cross a busy four-lane highway.

Jody Foss was driving into C.B.S. on the bypass highway after work on Wednesday, when he spotted a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer slowing down traffic.

Const. Glenn Cunningham had stopped his cruiser on the other side of the divided highway near the Fowlers Road exit, walked across the median and halted traffic in both directions.

At first, Cunningham said, he could see only the mother and one duckling as he turned on his emergency lights and began to investigate the duck out of water.

"With that, eight more little ducks popped up out of the wooded area and started following the mother across the roadway," Cunningham told CBC News.

But, the journey didn't end there. The duck family dropped into the median between the divided highway and became a little flustered according to Cunningham.

"So I proceeded to go down into the [median]  and just encourage them to walk across the roadway. And, they made themselves across, with police escort, no problems," he said.

Foss's wife, Kelly, captured the moment on video from the passenger seat.

Foss tweeted out the video Wednesday night, and it had more than 11,000 views by the next morning.

After the ducks were safe on the side of the road, Foss said, people stopped on the highway started honking their horns to show the officer their appreciation for his actions.

"It was a nice moment," Foss said.

Not a safety issue

In 2014 a Quebec woman was found guilty on two counts of criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death after stopping on a highway outside of Montreal to help ducks cross the road. 

Cunningham told CBC News he had every ounce of confidence when he stopped his police cruiser that it was a safe move as he checked his surroundings before coming to a halt. The nearest vehicle behind him was over 500 metres away, he said.

"I was quickly convinced that I could make that decision safely," he said.

"The video shows all the cars stopped at the time, as you can clearly see, but when I stopped my car initially there was no cars behind me, and they all gathered shortly there after."   

The RNC tweeted that Const. Glenn Cunningham 'sends kudos to the motorists for their cooperation' in stopping for the ducks. (RNC/Twitter)

However, before anyone tries to follow Cunningham's lead, the hero of the bay advises against it. 

"I would not recommend this to any motorist, to stop their vehicle on Pitts Memorial Drive at that rate of speed," he said.

"We have a police unit that has high-visibility lights, a police officer in full police uniform there with a reflective vest on. So the public understands that they should stop when they see the police, and they can actually see the vehicle that is stopped."     

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Rod Etheridge

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