A tearful Jennifer Neville-Lake clutched a photo book showing her children’s final moments, saying the only thing she can think about after Marco Muzzo’s 10-year drunk-driving sentence is that none of them lived that long.
“That’s what’s going through my head right now. The fact that his sentence is 10 years and none of my children saw 10 years. None,” she said Tuesday outside court in Newmarket, Ont.
Neville-Lake held photos of her son Harry and daughter Milly in hospital, holding hands, before they died. Her other son, Daniel, died at the crash scene. Neville-Lake said she was told she and her husband had to choose which child would be disconnected from life support first.
“I couldn’t pick which baby to turn off the machine first… So they put them together and Edward and I climbed into bed with them,” she said.
“Just like we were there with them when they were born we were there with both of them when they died. And they died hugged by us in bed surrounded by all the family and friends that sang to them ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ as we turned off the machines.”
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
The Neville-Lake family have provided photos to Global News taken during the final moments with their son and daughter. The family wants the images published to show the devastation of drunk driving. Please use discretion with younger viewers.
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 last September after the van they were in was hit by a speeding Muzzo. He pleaded guilty to the crash.
Jennifer Neville-Lake held a photo book showing photos of her family’s “choices” — her father Gary Neville getting married and starting a family, then pictures of her own wedding and three children.
She then flipped to a page titled “Drunk Driver Marco Muzzo’s actions” — his name partly censored out — and a photograph of the horrific crash.
“With choice and the actions there’s always a consequence. My consequences? These were my consequences,” she said, turning to pictures of her two children’s final moment in hospital, then three urns with the siblings’ ashes.
Sobbing, Neville-Lake then issued a stark reminder about the consequences of impaired driving.
“When you choose to drink and drive you’re hurting other families. You’re killing someone else’s babies. Like mine were killed. Like all of mine were killed.”
Tuesday’s sentence means the 29-year-old Muzzo will serve nine years and four months after credit for time served. He could be eligible for parole after a third of his sentence, and for day parole six months before then. Muzzo also faces a 12-year driving ban.
His lawyer Brian Greenspan said Muzzo “took full responsibility for his actions, took full accountability for his actions and today he fully accepts the sentence that was imposed.”
Muzzo’s trial heard he had returned from his bachelor party in Florida on a private plane and picked up his SUV at Pearson International Airport prior to the Sept. 27, 2015, crash.
With files from Caryn Lieberman and The Canadian Press