NEWMARKET, Ont. — A man returning from his Miami bachelor party last year was so drunk that he had urinated on himself following a collision that killed three young children and their grandfather in a case that culminated in a guilty plea on Thursday.
Marco Muzzo, 29, was released on bail until his sentencing later this month after he pleaded guilty in a Newmarket, Ont., court to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm related to the Sept. 27 crash.
Muzzo had faced a dozen counts of impaired driving and six more charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle related to the fatal collision.
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, died after the van they were in was T-boned by an SUV in Vaughan, Ont.
The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.
“A drunk driver killed my family and he admitted to it,” the children’s mother, Jennifer Neville-Lake, said outside court.
Neville-Lake said having the names of her children and father read out in court and associated with the charges was an emotional moment.
“Impaired operation of a motor vehicle resulting in the death of Gary Neville, resulting in the death of — those are my babies,” she said, choking back tears.
“I can’t think of anything he would have to say that might remotely, even possibly, make me feel any better,” she said when asked about Muzzo’s expected address to the family at the sentencing hearing.
The conditions of Muzzo’s $1-million bail, which his lawyer Brian Greenspan called “virtual house arrest,” include a curfew, a driving ban, a ban on drinking, and no contact with Neville-Lake family.
“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 said outside the courthouse.
Muzzo had returned from a trip to Miami on a private jet last September, landing at Toronto’s Pearson airport around 3:15 p.m., according to an agreed statement of fact read in court.
“It was his bachelor party trip … the first time he had ever flown on the corporate plane,” Greenspan said.
He picked up his Jeep from the airport parking lot and drove off, court heard.
Shortly afterward, he drove through a stop sign, plowing into the driver’s side of the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family. He was speeding at the time, court heard.
A police officer called to the scene reported that Muzzo was unsteady on his feet and needed others to support him to stay upright, the statement said. The officer said Muzzo had glossy eyes, smelled of alcohol and had urinated on himself.
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.
Before the crash, Muzzo had seven non-criminal offences, including a conviction for driving with a hand-held device, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.
Muzzo’s previous offences occurred throughout the Toronto area, from Richmond Hill to Newmarket, Orillia and Mississauga, the ministry said.
The Muzzo family, one of Canada’s wealthiest, released a statement after their son’s arrest saying they were “greatly saddened” by the tragedy, and expressed their “deepest sympathy” to the Neville-Lake family.
The family owns the drywall company Marel Contractors and is worth nearly $1.8 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine.