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Shark Tank Star's Wife Not Guilty in Fatal Boat Crash

Two people were killed in Ontario accident in 2019
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2019 2:08 AM CDT
Updated Sep 14, 2021 3:00 PM CDT
Shark Tank Star's Wife Faces Charges in Fatal Boat Crash
In this Nov. 19, 2017 photo, Linda O'Leary and Kevin O'Leary arrive at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) Update: Linda O'Leary, wife of Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary, will not be going to prison in connection with a boat crash that killed two people on a lake north of Toronto two years ago. Ontario judge Richard Humphrey found O'Leary, who was at the helm in the August 2019 crash, not guilty of an offense under the Canada Shipping Act, the CBC reports. The judge said prosecutors had failed to prove that O'Leary was operating the boat without due consideration for others, and there wasn't enough evidence to confirm the vessel's speed. He found—contradictory to evidence from witnesses—that the other boat had its lights off at the time of the crash. Our original story from Sept. 2019 follows.

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The wife of Shark Tank star Kevin O'Leary could be facing prison time for her role in a crash that killed two boaters last month in Ontario, Canada. Authorities say that after a "thorough investigation" of the Aug. 24 incident, Linda O'Leary, 56, has been charged with careless operation of a vessel, the CBC reports. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a fine of $1 million Canadian, which works out to around $750,000 US. Florida man Gary Poltash, 64, and 48-year-old Ontario resident Susanne Brito were killed in the collision between the boat Linda O'Leary was driving and another vessel on Lake Joseph, around 130 miles north of Toronto. Linda O'Leary suffered a leg injury that required surgery.

The driver of the other boat, 57-year-old New York man Richard Ruh, has been charged with failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway. Linda O'Leary's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, tells CNN that the other vessel was operating without navigation lights at around 11:30pm on a dark and moonless night. "It's our position that Mrs. O'Leary, who is a cautious and experienced boater came into contact with a boat that simply couldn't be seen," he says. Kevin O'Leary, who was a passenger in the boat his wife was driving, said in a statement: "I have no further comment other than to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those who lost loved ones in this awful tragedy. Our hearts go out to them." (Read more Shark Tank stories.)

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