For those of us who live in Canada, particularly in Ontario, the case of 29-year-old Marco Muzzo has become a source of horrified fascination. Muzzo pleaded guilty February 4 to four counts of impaired driving causing death and to two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, charges which stemmed from a September 27, 2015, crash just outside of Vaughan, just a stone’s throw from Toronto. The crash killed 65-year-old Gary Neville and his three grandchildren, Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milagros, 2, according to Toronto Star.

Muzzo’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, has said that the young man, who was due to be married late last year and is now facing 12 years or more behind bars for his offences, is remorseful. Muzzo himself acknowledged the remorse he struggles with in a statement to the Neville-Lake family, who left the courtroom yesterday when Muzzo rose to give his statement during the sentencing hearing.

“I stand here before you today with great remorse, sympathy and unimaginable regret,” Muzzo said, according to CP24 News. “As I listened with horror yesterday to the details of the catastrophic consequences of my actions, I knew that my words would be of no consolation. Ever since the tragedy that occurred as a result of my inexcusable conduct, I have wanted to say that I am sorry and apologize to your family from the bottom of my heart.”

Muzzo has remained in custody from the date the crash occurred to February 4, at which time he pleaded guilty to the charges. While society at large understands that the legal system moves slowly, what many are struggling with is the fact that just over four months passed before Muzzo pleaded guilty, and yet he is claiming remorse.

Muzzo’s family is estimated to be worth about $1 billion, thanks to a drywalling and real estate empire built by Muzzo’s grandfather. Prior to the tragedy that took the lives of three youngsters and their grandfather, Muzzo had been enjoying time in Miami with his friends, celebrating his upcoming nuptials. The private plane he had taken had landed at Toronto’s Pearson Airport September 27, and before the day was done, the Jeep he had driven from the airport had plowed into the minivan carrying the three Neville-Lake children and their grandfather.

National Post reports that 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. He said that he had a hard time believing that he was intoxicated to the extent he was – his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit – because, as National Post also reported, Muzzo told the psychiatrist that he only recalled three or four drinks on the plane and did not “feel drunk.”

Drunk drivers tend not to “feel drunk.” While one doesn’t necessarily need to be an experienced drinker in order to be a drunk driver, many impaired drivers refuse to acknowledge that they are incapable of driving and still maintain their ability to get behind the wheel. My own father was arrested three times for impaired driving, and each time, he claimed it was someone else – something else – that caused the accident that could very well have taken the lives of others or of himself. Responsibility for his own decision to drink and drive was not even a thought; there was no question in his mind that he had had every right to be behind the wheel.

While my father was lucky in that he was caught before he could have hurt anybody while behind the wheel, I can’t help but feel a terrible connection to the Muzzo case. No doubt parents everywhere are hugging their own children tighter because of this horrific tragedy, but in my case, I see Muzzo as a younger version of my father in some respects: seeming to refuse immediate responsibility for something that is wholly a choice until he has no alternative. Muzzo likely did not plead guilty Feb. 4 out of any genuine sense of remorse – if he had truly been remorseful, that guilty plea would have been entered the second he was before the courts.

While I understand there have been a number of delays since Muzzo was initially charged, I admit to some curiosity why it took four months for him to finally decide to plead guilty to the six charges he now faces. Certainly it’s not unusual for some time to pass between initial charges and final pleas, but with any drunk driving case – not just Muzzo’s, though that is the one that has captured significant media attention at this point – I wonder why the person who drove while impaired does not just admit they screwed up the second they sober up.

Muzzo is not the only “remorseful” drunk driver. John Koch, 50, of Saskatoon, pleaded guilty at the start of January 2016 to impaired driving causing death in the case of Danille Kerpan, who was only 25 when her life was taken October 14, 2014. Koch was sentenced to four years behind bars and an 11-year driving prohibition. While Koch did say “I wish it was me instead of her” in his statement to the Kerpan family, according to CBC News, it still took months for that guilty plea to actually be voiced.

I understand, to an extent, the pain a family feels when a loved one is charged with impaired driving. There is shame and there is embarrassment that someone who you’d deemed a responsible sort of person could make such a catastrophic decision. In Muzzo’s case, and in others like his, though, I can’t help but wonder just how remorseful these drunk drivers actually are. It is a choice to drive while impaired, regardless of whether you “feel drunk” or not; if the decision is made to drive impaired, own up and claim responsibility for your actions right away. Better still, call a cab. Your life and those of others are too important.

Source: Inquisitr



Last updated on: 2016-03-11 | Link to this post