'I should have known better': Drunk driver Marco Muzzo denied day parole in Ontario

Marco Muzzo, right, is seen here in Newmarket, Ont., on Feb. 4, 2016. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in a drunk driving crash that killed three young children and their grandfather. Photo from The Canadian Press.

A convicted drunk driver who killed four family members in a 2015 collision near Toronto has been denied day parole.

The Parole Board of Canada pointed to the fact that Marco Muzzo has not addressed his alcohol misuse.

“We don’t question your remorse,” the panel said Tuesday. “It’s obvious that this is a very difficult thing for you to deal with.”

This was Muzzo’s first opportunity to be granted parole of any kind. He has already spent more than 37 months behind bars in relation to his impaired driving conviction after receiving a 10-year prison sentence in 2016.

In September 2015, Muzzo’s SUV T-boned a minivan carrying members of the Neville-Lake family in Vaughan, Ont. Three children under the age of 10 and a 65-year-old grandfather were killed in the collision that also left two others injured.

Several candlelight vigils were held following the deadly incident, which put a spotlight on the issue of impaired driving in Canada.

Jennifer Neville-Lake speaks to media in Gravenhurst, Ont., on Nov. 7, 2018. A panel with the Parole Board of Canada says Muzzo has not addressed his alcohol misuse, and denied him both day parole and full parole. Photo from The Canadian Press.
I should have known better

In February 2016, Muzzo pleaded guilty to six charges in relation to the high-profile crash, including four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. 

In an online poll conducted by Yahoo Canada, 90 per cent of respondents said they felt it was too soon for the convicted drunk driver to be granted day parole. More than 2,000 votes were cast.

“I should have known better but I took a chance,” Muzzo told the panel. “I felt fine but there was that slight grogginess.”

Court documents revealed Muzzo was speeding and ran through a stop sign at the time of the fatal collision. He had been returning from a bachelor party in Miami and was driving with a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit, according to court papers.

Muzzo told the panel the screams from the scene of the crash still haunt him.

“It’s something I can’t forget,” the 32-year-old man said.

In an online poll conducted by Yahoo Canada, 90 per cent of respondents said they did not support Marco Muzzo receiving day parole at this time.
‘Life sentence of misery’

The mother of the three children killed in the collision also spoke at the hearing.

“I don’t and won’t get the chance for parole from this life sentence of misery and despair,” Jennifer Neville-Lake said. 

In March 2016, the judge who presided over Muzzo’s case said Muzzo showed remorse for what had happened, but must still be held accountable for his actions.

“In one fell swoop, he decimated an entire generation of the Neville-Lake family, its legacy and its future,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst said in her decision. 

The judge also noted Muzzo had the financial means to afford a ride home, but drove drunk anyway. According to Canadian Business magazine, the Muzzo family is worth $1.86 billion.

Below is a clip of Jennifer Neville-Lake speaking in March 2016 after Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in a crash that killed three of her young children.

Full parole eligibility next May

On top of his 10-year prison sentence, Muzzo was also banned from driving for 12 years. He has been serving time behind bars at the Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont., where the hearing took place.

Meanwhile, the Neville-Lake family is seeking more than $25 million for damages in a lawsuit filed against Muzzo and his family’s drywall company.

The convicted drunk driver will be also be eligible for full parole in May 2019 and statutory release on June 18, 2022. Muzzo was 29 years old and engaged to be married at the time of the crash.

With files from The Canadian Press