How dumb can you get?

In Canada, a woman is on trial for the wrongful death of a motorcyclist, and the cyclist’s passenger, after they hit the back of her car. Normally, when you rear-end somebody, you are at fault, but this case appears to be different.

How is it different?
It is different because the woman stopped her car in the passing lane of a highway in order to allow ducks to walk across the road.
However, she did not just stop momentarily.
After stopping her car in the passing lane of the highway, she exited her car and stood on the left-hand shoulder…for some reason that is unclear to me.

The motorcyclist and his daughter were not able to stop in time, and both were killed.
Under Canadian law, the woman could–technically–receive a sentence of life behind bars, although that long a sentence is unlikely.

I’m really not sure where to come down on this issue.
While I am an animal lover and would do almost anything to avoid running over an animal, I am also aware that stopping your car in a travel lane of a highway is never a good idea. And, any claim that she might have made about stopping only momentarily is made moot by the reality that she exited from her car! And, if she was able to walk to the shoulder of the road, she could have driven to the shoulder of the road.

This woman was incredibly…stupid…and…reckless, but if I was on a jury, I am not sure about what type of sentence she should receive.
What do you think?

This is a tough one.

I’d want more knowledge/information of the road itself, as well as knowing whether she had her lights and/or flashers on. There are roads full of curves, hills, and visual obstructions where a stop like that could be expected to be deadly. There are also roads so straight and clear that you can see the curve of the earth, and should be able to see a hazard miles before you come to it.

If this was a straight flat road with little traffic and she had her lights and flashers on, I’d be inclined to place the liability on the motorcyclist, especially if he was impaired.

If it was a visually obstructed road with normal traffic and she did not have her flashers or lights on, she’s fully liable. As a minimum she should have her license revoked. She’s dangerous.

She sounds like a very nice person who did a very dumb thing. I doubt that she will go to jail unless she shows no remorse. Since she stopped for the ducks, I imagine she is quite upset that she caused two deaths. The memory of the deaths is quite a punishment itself. Maybe she will be fined.

Sounds like the speed limit was being ignored. Its there for a reason, but many people know better.

A motorcycle should be able to stop very quickly, what happened.

Well, she’s about at the rock bottom of the stupid pit. I don’t know about life in prison but I think that she should get X number of years behind bars and once released should never be allowed to drive a vehicle again. She should also be made to wear an ankle collar for the rest of her life and have all movements tracked. If she has to go anywhere then it’s bike, bus, or by foot.

Harsh? Not really when compared to what the deceased and their families have gone, and are going, through.

I had an accident once visiting a gf in CA, going up curvy hwy 1 along the ocean near Monterrey, early in the morning, pavement a bit damp from dew, following a caddilac with LA plates. rounded a turn saw brake lights, slowed, then slammed on the breaks too late as a Dr. letting his unlicensed son drive, he thought someone in the oncoming lane was too close to center.and had done an emergency stop. Now I did not hit them hard, straightened the point in the middle of the bumper of my Ranchero and pushed the radiator onto the fan for a radiator shred fest. Insurance was pursuing unnecessary stopping, though no tickets issued but paid them off 6 months later when all of the sudden they had whiplash claims. Allstate dropped me for that, Nice bus ride back to Chicago, got to do the trip with 10 stops in 2 weeks and took the long route, saw a lot of nice parks on the way home.

I can name many, many instances where the one in front should be called at fault ( I wish they’d cite more of them ), so I can see it here too.

Very stupid woman. Since there was a left shoulder…that’s where she needed to park her car. No doubt she will be a very incarcerated woman after the trial and rightly so. I’ve always told my family that I will not brake because of small animals in the road…the risk is just too great when it comes to injuring passengers or yourself.

No way, she was fully stopped and had been long enough to exit the vehicle. The motorcycle was not right behind her then, it had more than enough warning and should have also stopped. It does not matter whether the road was curvy, hilly or there were other visual obstructions. If there were, then the motorcyclist was going way too fast for conditions.

If a bolder had rolled onto the highway a minute earlier and the motorcyclist didn’t see it in time, would the rock be facing life in prison? BTW, not too long ago, I stopped traffic to let a mama duck and her ducklings cross a very busy road, and I really didn’t care how many other drivers got pissed off, they just had to wait, and I’d do it again.

We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one @keith but the cyclists are dead and putting blame on them is not possible. I say fry the moronic woman but we’re talking Canada here so that’s out the question also.

What if the woman’s engine had locked up at that moment in time and traffic was too heavy and no one would let her over? What if something fell off a truck in front of her and she could not stop in time and it made her car immobile? What if that was a child that had run out into the road instead of ducks?

She did not slam on her brakes with the motorcycle right behind her. The story does not fit that scenario. If the motorcyclist did not see her in time to stop, he was going too fast. It sounds to me that because the father is dead, the woman has become the person to punish for the child’s death.

It is not only possible to put the blame on the cyclist, that is exactly where it belongs. This reminds me of a time in California where if a minor stole your car, you would be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. How stupid was that law.


I agree with you on this, there are many reasons why you may have to stop suddenly on the road, what if she was stopped for a school bus?

Where I live there are many 2 lane curvy highways in hilly terrain. The speed limit is 55 and most people go alot faster which most of the time they get by with, but if they need to stop for some reason they find themselves going way too fast.

Everyone has a selfish attitude these days, last winter there was an elderly lady who fell by her mailbox on a state highway, she laid there for 40 minutes until a garbage truck finally stopped and helped her and by that time she was almost dead. The road was traveled enough that someone should have seen the lady lying on the shoulder of the road and helped her, but instead these ignorant people decided to ignore her laying there and continue speeding on by to get to wherever they are in such a hurry to get too.

If a boulder rolled onto a highway, no they wouldn’t charge the boulder, but they aren’t pressing charges on the car either.
If someone rolled a boulder onto the highway and somebody hit it, the person who rolled the boulder there would be facing charges.
The fact is that she intentionally put a large object in the middle of the highway which ended up killing someone. Sure she had no ill intent, but thats why there is a difference between murder and involuntary manslaughter.

That woman is a damned moron. Period.

Wonder why she took down the Facebook pic of her smiling face next to a motorcycle.

Its not involuntary manslaughter either.

Don’t mean to offend @keith but to stop your car in a lane in a highway and get out of the car to watch or help some ducks is irresponsibly dangerous. They’re wild animals. They get run over? Ehh, there will be more around soon. To endanger a human life for the sake of a duck is just crazy. It’s an animal.

I’d need more info about the road and conditions to develop an opinion about the cyclists. But the driver clearly shares the majority of the blame. If her car. Had stalled it would be one thing, but she willfully and knowingly did something illegal, dangerous, and stupid. You never stop your car in a lane and get out. I think the fact that it was for some ducks makes it more egregious.

While I think the woman made a terrible decision, I too agree with @keith.

About 20 years a gasoline tanker driver for some unexplicable reason unknown to this day chose to stop his load of fuel on some railroad tracks about 50 miles from here. The trucker was killed and both train engineers injured in the ensuing fireball which stretched out over a 1/4 mile.

In another incident west of me, a trucker carrying a load of anhydrous ammonia chose to stop on the tracks and was rammed by a freight train; killing the truck driver. This led to the closing of a state highway and the evacuation of everyone within a radius of several miles.

So by the logic used here those 2 truck drivers are blameless and the finger should be pointed at the train engineers.

I’ve got to say that if you stop in the passing lane, you are almost guaranteed to get hit these days. On the other hand, you need to have control of your vehicle at all times so the cycle should have been able to stop and maybe should not have been in the passing lane. I would vote to aquit except for the fact that she left the car in the passing lane and got out. That was then creating a hazard, not just stopping for a hazard so maybe involuntary manslaughter but that would be a stretch.

Were she the one that got killed if a truck came upon her instead of a cycle, better believe the truck driver would be charged. The Viking wife, Amy Spencer is serving a couple years for a similar thing. Kid ran out of gas on a ramp (ticketable offense) had used drugs that night, and was putting gas in the car. She hit the kid and she was charged even though the kid created the hazard by running out of gas-who does that anymore?

Just outside of town a week or two ago, a car conked out on the passing lane and blocked the lane. Another guy stopped on the side. Third guy side swipes first guy and hits third guy. Can’t remember if anyone was killed or not. Even though you are bound to get hit if you stop on the road or even the side, the cause of the accident is the third guy that didn’t have control of his vehicle, regardless of how stupid the first guy was.

asemaster, How many people do a “brake check” just because someone is behind them. Had she done that, then she would share a “majority of the blame”. But she does not share the majority of the blame for this accident. She broke the law by stopping, but then how many people on that highway were breaking the law by speeding, or tailgating or failure to signal a lane change etc.?

The motorcyclist either had plenty of time to stop, was going too fast or was not paying attention.

I have to wonder if the motorcyclist or his daughter were wearing helmets at the time, that wasn’t in the article or I missed it.