Family and friends are mourning the losses of a 64-year-old Florida man and a 48-year-old Uxbridge woman who passed away following a boating accident on Lake Joseph in Ontario on Saturday night that involved Kevin O’Leary.
Earlier this week, Canadian businessman and TV star Kevin O’Leary said in a statement that he was also involved in a fatal crash on Lake Joseph on Saturday night.
Larry Poltash, brother of Gary Poltash, the 64-year-old victim, told Global News that he’s glad his brother didn’t suffer and that he “lived a good life.”
He said Gary was an “all-American boy” and a “self-made man” who graduated from the University of Southern California and became a certified public accountant.
After 15 years, his brother moved on and started a business to help people get property tax relief for when they were overcharged by the state of California, Larry said.
The woman who passed away in the crash was identified by OPP as Susanne Brito, a wife and mother of three, who was also called Suzana.
Over the past couple of days, words have circulated on social media regarding her loss.
“Suzana Brito was a beautiful and loving wife and mother and someone I was honoured to call a friend,” one friend said in a tweet. “I will miss her smile, her positive attitude and her love of laughing.”
In a statement, O’Leary said he was a passenger in one of the boats involved in the collision and that the other boat fled the scene.
“On late Saturday night, I was a passenger in a boat that was involved in a tragic collision with another watercraft that had no navigation lights on and then fled the scene,” O’Leary said. “I am fully cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation.”
On Wednesday, West Parry Sound OPP’s media officer, Joe Scali, told Global News that both watercraft left the scene and contacted emergency services.
“Both vessels had left the scene and when they reached the location, both vessels were in touch with ambulance for emergency services,” he said
WATCH: OPP provide details of crash involving Kevin O’Leary’s boat, won’t confirm businessman’s identity
Larry said a doctor owned the boat his brother was a passenger on.
“Doctors are calm under pressure,” he said. “My guess is as soon as the crash happened, he headed somewhere to get them medical attention.”
Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton said in a statement that Brito was a “vibrant member” of the township’s community.
“Suzana’s energy and enthusiasm will be missed by all who knew her,” Barton said in the statement. “We are mourning her loss along with her family and friends.”
The Northern Portugal Cultural Centre also posted on Facebook on Thursday to wish the Brito family condolences.
On Friday, the Brito-Owen family released a statement through the Uxbridge mayor’s office thanking people for their support.
“Our family wishes to express our gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received from police, first responders, the medical community, our friends and the entire Uxbridge community following the death of our wife, mother, daughter and sister, Suzana Brito,” the statement read.
“We ask that you respect our silence and understand that we will not be responding to requests for comment in the coming days as our family copes with her loss and focuses on helping our three children, ages 12, 11 and 9.”
The funeral service and burial for Brito will take place at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church and the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Uxbridge on Saturday.
O’Leary said in a statement that he will not be commenting further at this time.
“Out of respect for the victims’ families and to fully support the ongoing investigation I feel it is inappropriate to make further comments at this time,” the Shark Tank star said in the statement.
“My heartfelt prayers and condolences to the victims, the families and those affected by this loss.”
OPP’s investigation remains ongoing.