Bittersweet memorial held for Ont. children and grandfather killed by drunk driver
Published Sunday, August 14, 2016 3:56PM EDT Last Updated Sunday, August 14, 2016 4:05PM EDT
Children streaked their hair with bright colours and played in inflatable castles at a bittersweet memorial in King City, Ont. on Sunday. The event marked the tragic death of three children and their grandfather whose minivan was struck by a drunk driver last year.
Four doves were released in honour of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly, and their grandfather Gary Neville. The children’s favourite song was played as the birds were flew off – Judy Garland’s “Somewhere over the rainbow.”
The parents were not in attendance at the ceremony, but issued a written statement that was read aloud by an event organizer.
“We truly wish that we were all together for any other reason, and our children could be playing with yours here today,” read the statement from Jennifer and Edward Neville-Lake.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for all the love and support you have shown us and our family.”
The grieving parents called the memorial “achingly beautiful.”
Hundreds attended the event at a local park where families enjoyed ice cream, lemonade, and entertainers dressed as comic book heroes.
Four trees, four plaques, and a bench were dedicated to the children and their grandfather.
Marco Muzzo, the driver of the vehicle that struck the family on a Kleinburg, Ont. highway last September, was sentenced to 10 years minus time served in March after pleading guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. He was also sentenced to a 12-year driving ban.
“What is most upsetting is that this tragedy could have been prevented. Please teach your children the dangers of drinking and driving,” Jennifer Waxman Stallman told CP24. Her organization, Entertain Kids on a Dime, oversaw fundraising for the event.
We will never forget this family,” she added.
With files from CP24.