MANDEL: It’s too soon to release drunk driver Marco Muzzo

GRAVENHURST — Too soon.

How can Marco Muzzo expect to be released on parole at his hearing Wednesday when barely three years have passed since — as the sentencing judge said — “In one fell swoop, he decimated an entire generation of the Neville-Lake family, its legacy and its future?”

How can he expect freedom already when so little time has passed since his selfish drunk driving took the lives of Gary Neville, 65, and grandchildren Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2, on that bright Sunday afternoon of Sept. 27, 2015?

Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

How dare he believe he’s earned his liberty when those kids have been forever denied their chance to grow up?

It’s just too soon.

“Three years ago tomorrow I was on my knees crying my heart out after watching my babies and dad being lowered into the ground and covered with dirt and flowers,” their mom Jennifer Neville-Lake posted last month on Facebook.

“I was forced to bury my children and my dad because of an impaired driver.”

Now she and husband Ed Lake will travel here to Beaver Creek Institution in a bid to dissuade the Parole Board from releasing Muzzo — an heir to his billionaire family’s construction empire.

An online petition begun just two weeks ago has garnered more than 13,000 signatures calling for the board to “make an example out of him to prevent more DUI cases.”

Muzzo, 32, is eligible for day parole on Nov. 7 and full parole in May 2019; it’s expected the parole board will be considering both requests.

The small consolation is that he still faces a 12-year driving ban when released.

And the haunting of four souls he’s taken.

Muzzo had just returned home on a private jet from his bachelor party in Miami when he got into his Jeep and headed to King City with almost three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

They didn’t stand a chance.

The Nevilles were driving their grandkids home to Brampton after a sleepover when Muzzo blew through a stop sign and T-boned the minivan at the intersection of Kirby Rd. and Kipling Ave. north of Kleinburg.

Neville-Lake saw the horrific collision on the news — the Grand Caravan that looked like the model they’d just picked up from the dealership a few days before, a backpack that looked so terribly familiar amongst the wreckage.

She’s been living a nightmare ever since.

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At the police station, she was told her father and son Daniel were dead.

On the phone, a surgeon urged them to hurry to Sick Kids.

On the highway, her suicidal husband kissed her goodbye and tried to jump out of the car.

Racing into the hospital, they were told Harry and Milly were brain dead, kept alive only so they could say their final goodbyes.

“I remember crying out, ‘All of them? All of my babies are gone? Not one left?’”

Those were some of the heartbreaking memories the grieving mother shared at Muzzo’s sentencing hearing in February 2016.

“Because of you,” she kept repeating. “Because of you.”

Gary Neville, her babies, Daniel, Harry and Milly — “Those are the names of the ones who paid for your drinks with the price of their blood,” she cried.

To his credit, Muzzo took responsibility and pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

“Ever since the tragedy that occurred as a result of my inexcusable conduct, I have wanted to say that I am sorry and apologize to your family from the bottom of my heart,” he said as he trembled in court. 

If so, surely he should recognize that seeking parole now — while his lawful right — can only be seen as profoundly wrong?

When Justice Michelle Fuerst sentenced him in March 2016 to 10 years in prison, it was believed to be the longest term for a first time impaired driving offence in Canada.

It was supposed to be tough enough to deter others from driving drunk and reflect society’s abhorrence of the crime.

But what message does it send if you can wipe out an entire generation of a family and not even serve a year for each of the four lives you’ve taken?

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Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies