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Family who lost three kids, granddad sues drunk driver for $25-million

Marco Muzzo arrives with family at the court house for his sentencing hearing in Newmarket, Ont., on Tuesday, February 23, 2016.

Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Toronto-area family who lost four family members — including three children — in a horrific car crash last year has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the drunk driver convicted in their deaths.

The Neville-Lake family is seeking more than $25 million from Marco Muzzo and his family's drywall company, Marel Contractors, arguing their negligence caused the crash that killed 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.

The children's grandmother, Neriza Neville, and great-grandmother, Josefina Frias, were also seriously hurt in the Vaughan, Ont., collision.

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The lawsuit — which was filed by Neville, the children's parents, Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake, and Neville-Lake's brother and sister — alleges Muzzo "was conscious of the probable consequences of his carelessness and was indifferent or worse to the danger of injury or death to the occupants of the Neville-Lake vehicle."

"This motor vehicle accident has had a profound, significant and catastrophic impact upon the lives and wellbeing of all of the plaintiffs," causing them enduring pain and suffering, affecting their quality of life and their ability to earn a living, it says.

The loss of four relatives has left the family reeling with shock and grief and deprived them of the support, care and companionship they would have received from their loved ones, the suit alleges.

It has also saddled them with bills for hospitalization, therapy, rehabilitation and attendant care, among others, the document says.

The suit was filed in April, just weeks after Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison on four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

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The statement of claim contains allegations that have not been proven in civil court. A statement of defence in the matter has not yet been filed.

In the statement of claim, the family says Muzzo was drunk, speeding and driving without corrective lenses after returning from his bachelor party in Miami last September and "created a situation of danger and emergency."

It also alleges Marel, which owned the SUV involved in the crash, failed to maintain the vehicle and allowed Muzzo to drive at a time when the company should have known he was impaired.

The "unique and tragic results" of Muzzo's conduct effectively led to "the loss of the entire family of Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake" and justifies the award of a substantial payout in aggravated damages, the suit argues.

During Muzzo's criminal trial, court heard he picked up his Jeep from the airport parking lot and drove through a stop sign shortly afterward, plowing into the driver's side of the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family. He was speeding at the time.

The court heard he was so drunk at the time of the crash that he urinated on himself and needed help standing.

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