Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grieving Mother Pushes for Tougher Drunk Driving Sentences in Wake of Crash

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Grieving Mother Pushes for Tougher Drunk Driving Sentences in Wake of Crash

Article excerpt

Thanksgiving 'difficult' for grieving mother

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TORONTO - A grieving mother who lost her three children and her father in a horrific crash north of Toronto is harnessing a wave of public support and outrage to push for tougher penalties against drunk drivers.

Jennifer Neville-Lake says returning to the site of the crash on Thanksgiving weekend inspired her to launch what she called her "final bit of advocacy" for her children.

Nine-year-old Daniel, Harrison, 5, and two-year-old Milly Neville-Lake were killed along with Gary Neville, 65, after the van they were in was T-boned by an SUV in Vaughan, Ont., on Sept. 27. The children's grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured in the crash.

Marco Muzzo, 29, has been charged with a dozen counts of impaired driving and six more charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle related to the incident.

He remains in police custody pending a bail hearing next Monday and his high-profile defence lawyer has said it's premature to indicate how Muzzo will plead.

The maximum sentence for impaired driving causing death is life in prison and Neville-Lake says it's crucial for politicians and the courts to know the public supports that ruling.

Last week, a young man in Saskatchewan was sentenced to four years in prison for a drunk-driving crash that resulted in the deaths of two women and left a newborn with a brain injury.

In Ontario, a 22-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison last week after being convicted of driving drunk the wrong way down a highway and killing two people -- a 49-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter -- in a 2012 crash.

"If enough people ask for the harshest sentence, it will be considered," Neville-Lake said Tuesday, while cautioning against vigilante justice.

Thanksgiving was "a pretty difficult weekend for us," Neville-Lake said.

Remembering all the things they would have been grateful for -- including the progress made by young Harrison, who had special needs -- was too painful, so Neville-Lake said she chose to focus on the positive. …

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