Muzzo pleads guilty in fatal crash, granted bail

Jennifer Neville-Lake says she can’t forgive the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed her three children and their grandfather last fall.

See Full Article

Neville-Lake spoke with reporters Thursday outside a Newmarket, Ont. court shortly after Marco Muzzo, who pleaded guilty to six charges related to the crash, was released on $1-million bail.

#breaking Leaving court free man #marcomuzzo after pleading guilty and getting bail @CTVNewspic.twitter.com/duZJIRx8e9

— Peter Akman (@PeterAkmanCTV) February 4, 2016

With her husband by her side, Neville-Lake held up two photos of her eldest son, Daniel, who would have turned 10 on Wednesday.

One picture showed her holding Daniel in the hospital after his birth, and the other was a school photo taken “two days before his life was ended by an impaired driver,” Neville-Lake said.

Muzzo, 29, was facing multiple charges, including impaired driving and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, following the Sept. 27 crash in Vaughan, Ont.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

Nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and their grandfather, Gary Neville, 65, died after the van they were in was struck by Muzzo’s vehicle. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were injured in the crash.

Her voice shaking, Neville-Lake said that instead of throwing Daniel a birthday party on Wednesday, she and her husband “celebrated – if you can call it that – at his grave.”

The grieving mother said she may forgive Muzzo “at some point perhaps, if I live that long.”

She added that there’s isn’t anything Muzzo could say to take the pain away.

“Harrison, Daniel, Milagros, my dad – they can’t be brought back,” Neville-Lake said.

In court on Thursday, an agreed statement of facts shed light on the sequence of events on the day of the crash.

Court heard that prior to the deadly crash, Muzzo had returned from a trip to Miami on a private jet, landing at Pearson Airport shortly after 3 p.m.

Muzzo’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said it was his “bachelor party trip… The first time he ever flown on the corporate plane.”

Muzzo got into his Jeep in the airport parking lot and drove off, court heard.

Shortly after, Muzzo drove through a stop sign on Kipling Avenue and struck the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family. Court heard that he was speeding.

The speed limit on the street where the crash occurred is 80 km/h. The limit on the cross-street, which has no stop sign, is 60 km/h.

According to the agreed statement of fact, the stop sign on Kipling was visible and unobstructed, and there were no weather or traffic conditions that would have prevented a safe stop.

Muzzo approached the intersection at approximately 4:10 p.m., and applied his brakes, but did not come to a stop as he passed the sign. He struck the van in the intersection, then collided with another vehicle as it approached the scene. The driver and passenger in that vehicle were uninjured.

The statement said Muzzo's vehicle registered that the driver had applied the brakes for 3.7 seconds before striking the minivan.

"However, at impact, the Cherokee was still travelling at a speed of 85 km/h," the statement said.

Court also heard that a witness who arrived at the crash scene a short time after the crash said Muzzo had "glossy eyes, like when you are drunk."

An officer who responded to the crash scene observed that Muzzo was "unsteady on his feet," and that Muzzo urinated on himself and was having “a difficult time” understanding direction.

Muzzo was arrested, and provided two breath samples after speaking with his lawyer.

The samples showed he had a blood alcohol level of more than double the legal limit, the statement said.

On Thursday, the Crown agreed to the $1-million bail requested by Greenspan. Shortly after, a judge agreed to release Muzzo on bail, with conditions.

Muzzo is now under “virtual house arrest,” Greenspan said.

“There is no risk of flight, there is no risk that there is going to be any breach of bail, he’s under virtual house arrest, and everyone is confident that he will abide by all terms of his release,” Greenspan told reporters outside the courthouse.

Under his bail conditions, Muzzo must live with his mother and is prohibited from driving, purchasing or consuming alcohol. He must report to York Regional Police weekly, and is under a curfew, with the exception of medical emergencies.

Muzzo, who surrendered his passport to police, is also prohibited from contacting the Neville-Lake family and must remain at least 100 metres away from their places of employment, residences and educational institutions.

Muzzo left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

Greenspan said it has been a “sad and tragic day for everyone.”

Muzzo’s family owns a drywall company and is worth $1.8 billion, according to Canadian Business Magazine.

Responding to a question outside court on Thursday, Greenspan said any suggestion Muzzo was getting special treatment due to his family’s wealth were “outrageous.”

Muzzo’s sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 23.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.K. goverment tries to advance virus response with leader in ICU

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's government sought Wednesday to keep a grip on the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic as Prime Minister Boris Johnson started a third day in the intensive care unit of a London hospital being treated for COVID-19. Source
  • Mayor orders crackdown on social gatherings, then police find his wife at a bar

    World News CTV News
    A mayor in Illinois pleaded with residents last week to follow the state's stay at home order. After officers reported that people were continuing to defy the rules, the mayor said he had directed the city's police department to use its discretion in issuing citations and arrests. Source
  • Legions begin fundraising to save branches as financial challenges mount

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A number of Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country have launched online fundraising efforts to keep their doors open after suffering financial setbacks because of COVID-19. The head of the national veterans' and community service group said this week that despite ongoing work to help veterans and seniors in their communities during the pandemic, many branches are now turning to fundraising to pay the bills and ensure they can re-open when the crisis ends. Source
  • COVID-19 creates new hardships for some cargo crews stuck aboard ships

    Canada News CBC News
    Cargo ship crews ferrying goods around the world are facing increased strain as ship operators consider keeping them at sea longer during the COVID-19 outbreak. It comes at a time when restrictions and concerns around the virus keep crews from leaving their vessels while in port, according to a union that represents seafarers. Source
  • Ontario conducting fewer COVID-19 tests daily as cases keep climbing

    Canada News CBC News
    The number of COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario each day has dwindled steadily over the past week, raising concerns that the province is missing cases of the illness and failing to capture the true spread of the novel coronavirus. Source
  • COVID-19 sparks rise in online child predators, says UNICEF chief

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked an increase in online child sexual predators that organizations, governments and parents need to take more seriously, says the head of the United Nations children's agency. "We've got a couple of worrying signs, which is that the online predators are really -- they're multiplying," Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press this week. Source
  • Liberals asked to help cover overruns on projects delayed by COVID-19

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Cities and construction groups are asking the Trudeau Liberals to relax the rules for expected cost overruns from infrastructure projects facing delays from the COVID-19 pandemic -- or add more cash to help them deal with it. Source
  • Doctors investigate rare COVID-19 symptoms in effort to move quickly from anecdotes to science

    Canada News CBC News
    Dry cough, fever and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but specialists are starting to learn more about less common potential symptoms such as loss of one's sense of smell, disorientation and even seizures. Source
  • Pandemic equipment snarls will rewrite Canada's definition of national security needs, say experts

    Canada News CBC News
    The mad scramble to secure protective medical equipment and ventilators in the midst of a global pandemic has given some of the people who work in the usually tedious world of government procurement an unwelcome excuse to say, "I told you so. Source
  • How a simple plastic box could protect health-care workers across Canada from COVID-19

    Canada News CBC News
    For clinicians, inserting a tube into the airway of a COVID-19 patient is a high-risk procedure. It usually means front-line workers are staring right into someone's open mouth, and directly in the line of fire, should a sudden cough send virus-filled droplets flying. Source