A drunk driver who killed three young children and their grandfather in a crash north of Toronto three years ago has been denied parole.
A panel with the Parole Board of Canada says Marco Muzzo has not addressed his alcohol misuse, and denied him both day parole and full parole.
“We don’t question your remorse,” the panel said. “It’s obvious that this is a very difficult thing for you to deal with.”
Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2016 after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
The September 2015 crash claimed the lives of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville.
The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the collision in Vaughan, Ont.
The crash set off a wave of public grief that led to several candlelight vigils to honour the victims. It also sparked debate on the legal penalties for drunk driving, with some advocacy groups calling for tougher sentences.
Muzzo’s hearing was told the Parole board received numerous letters both against and in favour of granting the man some form of release.
The mother of the children Muzzo killed told the hearing that his expressions of remorse rung hollow as he had sought parole at the first opportunity.
“I don’t and won’t get the chance for parole from this life sentence of misery and despair,” Jennifer Neville-Lake told the hearing.
The crash took place after Muzzo had returned from his bachelor party in Florida on a private plane and picked up his car at Pearson International Airport.
Muzzo told the parole hearing that he had been drinking until 3 a.m. during his bachelor party and then had up to four drinks on the flight back to Toronto, but still felt he could drive.
“I should have known better but I took a chance,” he said, wiping tears away at one point. “I felt fine but there was that slight grogginess.”
He said he still vividly remembers the screams from the scene of the crash.
“It’s something I can’t forget,” he said.
When asked if he had driven drunk before, Muzzo said he had driven after having some drinks in the past but had never done so while “wasted.”
Muzzo was speeding and drove through a stop sign, T-boning the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family, his court case heard.
A police officer called to the scene said Muzzo had glossy eyes, smelled of alcohol and had urinated on himself, according to an agreed statement of fact read in court. Court heard two breathalyzer tests showed Muzzo had 192 and 204 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80.
It was only after he arrived at the police station that Muzzo learned the four had died, court heard.
At his sentencing, the judge presiding over the case said Muzzo’s lengthy record of driving infractions before the deadly incident suggested he had an “irresponsible attitude towards the privilege of driving.”
And while Muzzo showed genuine remorse for his actions, he must be held accountable for the irreversible suffering he’s caused, the judge said.
The Muzzo family, one of Canada’s wealthiest, owns the drywall company Marel Contractors.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press