By Liam Casey and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
The wife of celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary and an American man have been charged in connection with a boat crash that left two people dead and three others injured.
Ontario Provincial Police said Tuesday that Linda O’Leary, 56, of Toronto, was charged under the Canada Shipping Act with careless operation of a vessel.
The crash happened around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24, near Emerald Island on Lake Joseph, north of Toronto, and involved two boats.
A 64-year-old man from Florida died at the scene, while a 48-year-old woman from Uxbridge, Ont., died in hospital a few days later.
OPP Staff-Sgt. Carolle Dionne said the operator of the other boat, Richard Ruh, 57, of Orchard Park, N.Y., was also charged with failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway.
Police said neither boat fled the scene, but both left to seek help from emergency services.
Linda O’Leary’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said what happened was “a terrible tragedy … but we find it regrettable that the OPP has chosen to charged Mrs. O’Leary under the shipping regulations, in circumstances where the person has always been a cautious, and certainly experienced boater, came in a collision with an unlit craft on a dark and moonless night on Lake Joseph,” he said.
Ruh could not immediately be reached for comment.
Kevin O’Leary, the former star of the popular CBC show “Dragons’ Den,” said after the crash that he wasn’t driving the boat at the time of the crash, and that the other boat did not have its lights on.
“My heartfelt prayers and condolences to the victims, the families and those affected by this loss,” he said in a statement at the time.
O’Leary also stars in the ABC show “Shark Tank.” In 2017, he ran for the leadership of the federal Conservatives, but later dropped out.
In the event of a conviction, careless operation of a vessel carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $1 million fine, Dionne said. Failing to exhibit navigation lights is a set fine, akin to a traffic ticket.
Linda O’Leary is scheduled to appear in court in Parry Sound, Ont., on Oct. 29.