Jennifer Neville-Lake never pictured her world would be shattered by an impaired driver, but a collision that happened almost three years ago has left her without her three children and father.
On Sept. 27 2015, Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5 and Milly, 2, were killed after a vehicle hit the van they were in at the intersection of Kirby Road and Kipling Avenue in Vaughan, Ont.
The children’s grandfather, Gary Neville, was also killed.
“If that impaired driver hadn’t been on the road that day I wouldn’t be here with you now,” she said.
Neville-Lake spoke with Global News about the new reality she faces following the collision.
“You trust that everybody else is doing what you’ve chosen to do, which is to be sober, be alert, not impaired,” she said. That wasn’t the case for Marco Muzzo, whose Jeep Cherokee slammed into the van holding six members of the Neville-Lake family.
“There’s always anger because this isn’t right. This isn’t fair. I’ve always said I’m a Catholic, not a saint. I resent. I hate [and] those aren’t words that I would have associated with me before,” she said.
“If that impaired driver hadn’t been on the road that day I wouldn’t be here with you now. I would maybe be at Milly’s kindergarten graduation because that’s where she would be, she’d be starting grade one in the fall.”
Muzzo, who was 29 years old at the time of the collision, had arrived in Ontario after spending the weekend in Miami for his bachelor party.
WATCH: Extended interview with Jennifer Neville-Lake, mother of three killed in impaired driving collision
He had admitted he had been drinking on the flight back to Ontario and in February 2016, he plead guilty to four counts of driving under the influence causing death and two counts of driving under the influence causing bodily harm.
He is currently serving a 10 year jail time sentence and upon release will face a 12 year driving suspension.
Andrew Murie, CEO of MADD said while alcohol-related deaths have decreased, every death is avoidable.
“If you look at the 1980s, which was at its pinnacle, about 60 per cent of deaths on the roadway were alcohol caused and today that number is down to 15 per cent… We are seeing alcohol related deaths on the road going down, but we are seeing alcohol combined with drugs and drugs alone as the two leading causes of fatalities of impaired driving on the road,” he said.
“This is a new emerging problem for us but it doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol, drugs or a combination of both, it destroys families and it absolutely changes their lives forever,” he said.
Murie added that Muzzo’s sentence was a precedent-setting case, for the length of jail time.
Timeline: the hours leading up to the impaired driving collision kills three children and their grandfather
“That crash and the sentence given was a landmark type of case. It was a long sentence compared to what has been given out in the past and we have seen the sentence repeated now in a number of times,” he said.
“But no length of penalty brings back loved ones.”
Neville-Lake said the collision has caused her to serve a life sentence without her children and father and her trust is shaken.
“I have to trust that you’re not driving impaired,” she said.
“I have to trust that you’re obeying the law, that you’re not just thinking of yourself. Somebody didn’t.”
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