It’s one thing to read about an impaired driving crash in the news, but unless you attend the trial or sentencing hearing for an impaired driver in Canada, you won’t hear the victim impact statements, see the anguish on the family’s faces, or hear how the driver feels about what happened.
That’s one of the reasons why the Marco Muzzo impaired driving crash has made news over the past few months. The media has been closely following and reporting on Muzzo after he crashed when driving 85 km/hr through a stop sign.
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that was 3 times the legal limit, he hit a mini van carrying the family of Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake. The crash killed their 3 children and Neville-Lakes’s father. Her mother and grandmother were also injured in the crash. Muzzo pleaded guilty to 5 charges total: 4 counts of impaired driving causing death and 2 counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Because he entered a guilty plea, there was no trial.
Both Muzzo and the family of the victims attended his sentencing hearings, and although their images have been all over the news recently, the hearing was the first time either had addressed each other since the crash.
Neville-Lake shared a statement letting Muzzo know that he had robbed her identity as a mother. For his part, Muzzo stated that he was ‘tortured by the grief he’s caused’ and he addressed the family to say how sorry he was. The family however, had already left the courtroom before he began speaking, and Neville-Lake said she didn’t feel as though she had an obligation to listen to the man who killed her children.
When the hearing concluded, the Crown had asked that Muzzo be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison. He was also asked to receive a prohibition from driving for 8 to 10 years. At this point it’s up to the judge, but according to CBC there is no cap on the sentence he could receive.
An impaired driver is going to prison and a family must pick up the pieces and move on to a life without their children: this is the reality of an impaired driving crash, and it shows how that one simple decision to drive after drinking can change your life and the lives of total strangers forever.