Kevin O’Leary’s wife charged in deadly boat crash

The Prince George Citizen - - News - Liam CASEY, Ni­cole THOMP­SON

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, on Lake Joseph, lo­cated in the ritzy Muskoka cot­tage com­mu­nity 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.

Linda O’Leary’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said his client was driv­ing home “on a dark and moon­less night” with the boat’s lights on “at a rea­son­able speed” when it col­lided with the other boat. Linda O’Leary broke her foot in the crash and re­quired surgery, he said.

Greenspan called the in­ci­dent “a ter­ri­ble tragedy,” but said he found it “re­gret­table that the OPP has cho­sen to charge Mrs. O’Leary un­der the ship­ping reg­u­la­tions, in cir­cum­stances where the per­son (who) has al­ways been a cau­tious, and cer­tainly ex­pe­ri­enced boater, came in a col­li­sion with an un­lit craft,” he said.

Ruh could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

Kevin O’Leary, the for­mer star of the pop­u­lar CBC show Drag­ons’ Den and cur­rent star of ABC’s Shark Tank, said af­ter the crash that he wasn’t driv­ing the boat at the time, 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 ran for the lead­er­ship of the fed­eral Con­ser­va­tives in 2017, 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.

Greenspan con­tested that, say­ing the fine for those op­er­at­ing a plea­sure craft maxes out at $10,000.

Dionne said fail­ing to ex­hibit nav­i­ga­tion lights is a set fine akin to a traf­fic ticket, adding that the Canada Ship­ping Act is a fed­eral law.

Linda O’Leary is sched­uled to ap­pear in court in Parry Sound, Ont., on Oct. 29.

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