Kevin O'Leary's wife charged in Muskoka area boat crash that killed 2
OPP say Linda O'Leary facing a charge of careless operation of a vessel
The wife of TV personality and businessman Kevin O'Leary is facing a single charge over a boat crash in the Muskoka area last month that left two people dead.
Linda O'Leary, 56, is charged with careless operation of a vessel, in contravention of the Canada Shipping Act, small vessel regulations. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 18 months imprisonment or a fine of up to $1 million, or both.
One other person is charged in connection with the collision, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Ontario Provincial Police. Richard Ruh, 57, of Orchard Park, N.Y., has been charged with failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway, in contravention of Section 23 of the Canada Shipping Act, collision regulations.
Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, a spokesperson for the OPP, said Tuesday the charges follow "a thorough investigation."
"Linda O'Leary's charges are before the courts, so there's very little other details that we can release to ensure a fair court proceeding," Dionne told CBC Toronto in a telephone interview.
Linda O'Leary an 'experienced boater'
Linda O'Leary's lawyer Brian Greenspan described his client as "a cautious and experienced boater."
He noted that police have charged the driver of the other boat with operating without a proper light, which may have contributed to the collision.
"On this dark evening, [O'Leary], on approaching her home, tragically came into contact with an unlit boat," Greenspan told CBC Toronto.
"She finds the entire matter tragic," he added. "She's grief stricken."
The collision occurred around 11:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 24 near Emerald Island on Lake Joseph, a popular destination in the region about 215 kilometres north of downtown Toronto.
Gary Poltash, 64, from Florida, died the night of the crash. Susanne Brito, 48, a mother of three from Uxbridge, Ont., died in hospital the following Tuesday.
Three other people were taken to hospital with injuries and were released.
Linda O'Leary suffered a leg injury that required surgery, Greenspan said.
Just hours before the crash, Brito had posted a photo of the lake to social media with the words: "Beautiful day! Enjoy."
Kevin O'Leary issued a statement following the crash to say he was a passenger in one of the boats involved in the collision and that he was co-operating with the police investigation.
O'Leary, a businessman and former Dragons' Den star on CBC, made a bid for the federal Conservative leadership race before dropping out in 2017. He now appears on the ABC show Shark Tank in the United States.
Linda O'Leary is scheduled to appear in court in Parry Sound on Oct. 29. Greenspan said O'Leary's legal team will make the appearance on her behalf.