Suspected drunk driver’s family ‘deeply saddened’ by crash that left 4 dead

One of Canada's wealthiest families expressed sorrow and sympathy Tuesday after one of its own was accused in an alleged drunk driving incident that claimed the lives of three children and their grandfather.

TORONTO — One of Canada’s wealthiest families expressed sorrow and sympathy Tuesday after one of its own was accused in an alleged drunk driving incident that claimed the lives of three children and their grandfather.

Marco Muzzo, of King Township, Ont., faces a dozen impaired-driving offences and six charges related to the dangerous operation of a motor vehicle after he allegedly crashed into a minivan carrying six members of a family on Sunday.

“We are all greatly saddened by yesterday’s tragedy and express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Neville, Lake and Frias families,” Muzzo’s mother, Dawn, said in a statement bearing Monday’s date.

“We would ask for the co-operation of the media in respecting the privacy of our family during this very difficult time.”

The Muzzo family owns the drywall company Marel Contractors and is worth nearly $1.8 billion, according to Canadian Business magazine. The family had not spoken publicly since the fatal crash in Vaughan, north of Toronto.

Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, his brother Harrison, 5, their sister Milly, 2, and the kids’ 65-year-old grandfather died following the crash.

A candlelight vigil is planned for the Neville-Lake family Thursday night at St. Padre Pio church in Vaughan.

Thousands of people have also donated to an online fundraiser in the names of the four victims. By noon Tuesday, more than $150,000 had been raised through the GoFundMe campaign.

A bail hearing for Marco Muzzo is scheduled Friday.

His late grandfather, Marco Muzzo Sr., immigrated to Canada from Italy in the 1950s and became a highly influential developer in the Toronto area.

“He built most of Mississauga,” the city’s former mayor, Hazel McCallion, said in an interview. “Very generous man, very responsible — his word was as good as his signature.”

She described the late Muzzo as “very private” and said the family “must be under great, great stress.”

Before the crash, Marco Muzzo had seven non-criminal offences, including a conviction for driving with a handheld 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.

His lawyer, Rudi Covre, said he was unaware of the previous offences but does not believe they’ll have any effect on the criminal case.

“There may be a minimal role that they play but I don’t think there will be any impact,” he said. “A lot of kids, a lot of people have traffic tickets.”

He added he didn’t yet know how his client intended to plead.

Marco Muzzo was charged last March with holding a handheld communication device while driving in Caledon, Ont., according to a copy of the ticket obtained by The Canadian Press.

A Caledon courthouse clerk says he failed to respond to the ticket and was automatically convicted and paid the $280 fine.

In February 2012, Muzzo was charged with speeding, allegedly travelling 134 kilometres per hour in a 100 km/h zone on Highway 407 in Oshawa, Ont., at 10:46 a.m.

A Durham Whitby court clerk said the speeding ticket was withdrawn and no reasons were given.

In October 2012, Muzzo was charged with driving an off-road vehicle on a highway instead of on the shoulder in Severn Township, south of the Muskokas. Court records indicated he paid both fines — $110 each.

A woman calling herself a friend of the Neville-Lake family has started an online petition urging the federal government to increase penalties for impaired driving.

“There needs to be NO MERCY! It should be very simple. If you drink & then drive, YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL!,” Jacky Duncan wrote.

MADD Canada said there are somewhere between 1,250 and 1,500 deaths related to impaired driving in Canada each year.

The organization’s CEO, Andrew Murie, said both the federal and provincial governments should take a harder stance against impaired driving.

Provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta have seen drastic drops in impaired driving incidents once they began impounding the vehicles of those found to have 50 and 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, he said.

Anything above 80 milligrams is a criminal offence, but provinces impose their own penalties in the 50-range. In Ontario, those penalties are a three-day licence suspension and $180 fine for a first offence.

Just Posted

Scares and chills await at haunted house in Red Deer

Zed Haunted House helps raise money for Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer District

PHOTO: Renewable Energy Fair at Red Deer College

The Renewable Energy Fair and Workshops event was held at Red Deer… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer College Queens host third annual Pink in the Rink game

Queens raised $12,035 for the Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

PHOTOS: The Mustard Seed CEO speaks at Seeds of Hope Gala in Red Deer

The first-ever Seeds of Hope Gala was held at the Red Deer… Continue reading

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Except for 1 kick, Saints, Ravens are evenly matched

BALTIMORE — In a matchup between the league’s highest-scoring offence and top-ranked… Continue reading

Julia Louis-Dreyfus gets a top award for comedy

WASHINGTON — After a 35-year acting career and with two iconic television… Continue reading

Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West enter Country Music Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE — Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and… Continue reading

AP Exclusive: Stephen Hawking’s wheelchair, thesis for sale

LONDON — Stephen Hawking was a cosmic visionary, a figure of inspiration… Continue reading

Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review

OTTAWA — Canadian immigration officials have determined that the United States remains… Continue reading

Bombardier sues Mitsubishi over alleged theft of aircraft trade secrets

MONTREAL — Bombardier is suing Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States over… Continue reading

Three strong earthquakes reported in Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island

Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night in the Pacific Ocean… Continue reading

Turkey to reveal details of probe into Khashoggi’s killing

ISTANBUL — In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey… Continue reading

Most Read