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2 charged, including Kevin O’Leary’s wife Linda, in connection to fatal boat crash

WATCH ABOVE: Linda O’Leary is one of two people charged in connection with a deadly boat crash in northern Ontario from late August. Two people were killed and three others injured. Morganne Campbell has more in this report.

Two people have been charged in connection to an August fatal boat crash on Lake Joseph in Ontario that involved Kevin O’Leary.

OPP say Linda O’Leary has been charged with careless operation of a vessel contrary to the Canada Shipping Act.

Linda O’Leary is the wife of Canadian businessman and TV star Kevin O’Leary.

READ MORE: Family, friends mourn 2 who lost lives in Ontario boating accident involving Kevin O’Leary

Richard Ruh, 57, from Orchard Park, N.Y., has also been charged with failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway contrary to the Canada Shipping Act, OPP add.

The crash, which occurred in late August in Seguin, Ont., claimed the lives of Gary Poltash, 64, from Florida, and Suzana Brito, 48, from Uxbridge. Three people were also injured as a result of the incident.

The two boats reportedly collided on Lake Joseph near Emerald Island at about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24.

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“Because it is before the courts, we’re not going to be speaking to any specifics as to how the crash occurred,” OPP Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne told Global News.

“The OPP won’t comment on specifics relating to the vessel ownership, the occupants or the type of vessel.”

WATCH (Aug. 28, 2019): Kevin O’Leary involved in deadly Ontario boat crash

Kevin O’Leary involved in deadly Ontario boat crash
Kevin O’Leary involved in deadly Ontario boat crash

Dionne said she also can’t comment specifically on the allegation that Linda O’Leary’s driving was careless.

“I can’t get into the specifics of her action, how she was being careless,” she said. “The evidence that was gathered through the investigation determined that her action was careless, hence the reason why she was charged.”

Brian Greenspan, Linda O’Leary’s lawyer, told Global News it’s “regrettable” that the police have chosen to charge her.

“Mrs. O’Leary was just on her way home as an experienced and cautious boater, [and] simply couldn’t possibly have seen the boat with which she collided,” Greenspan said, adding that it was a dark night and that the other vessel was unlit.

After the crash occurred at the end of August, Kevin O’Leary released a statement that said the other boat involved in the collision “had no navigation lights on and then fled the scene.”

Dionne confirmed Tuesday that both boats left the scene to seek emergency assistance. “Both vessels did leave the scene, but that was to seek assistance,” she added.

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READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary on boat involved in fatal crash on Lake Joseph in Ontario

Greenspan said Linda O’Leary suffered a broken foot but that she’s had surgery and is now recuperating.

“Obviously she’s very much upset by it,” he said of Linda O’Leary’s reaction to the crash. “It’s a very, very sad event.”

In a statement, Kevin O’Leary said he isn’t commenting further.

“Now that the authorities have concluded their thorough investigation, 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,” the business magnate said in a statement provided to ET by his agent, Jay Sures, co-president of United Talent Agency.

Larry Poltash, brother of Gary Poltash, said the funeral for his sibling was held two weeks ago.

“There must have been 400 people there,” he said.

He added that what the police found was in line with what he was hearing from those who were involved in the crash.

“They described it to me, and when you look at the police results, they are saying the same thing,” Larry Poltash said. “My brother was in the wrong spot at the wrong time.”

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READ MORE: OPP investigate fatal boating collision on Lake Joseph in Seguin, Ont.

The victim’s brother told Global News that his family will not be pursuing legal action.

Stephanie Vanalstyne, a childhood friend of Brito’s, told Global News that the mom of three was “the best mother anyone could ever wish for.”

“She put herself last always, she was driving the kids around to all of their sports games and events,” Vanalstyne said. “She was always searching for ways to make their life more enjoyable.”

Police say the Canada Shipping Act is a federal responsibility, so the Public Prosecution Service of Canada will be managing the ensuing court processes.

Linda O’Leary is scheduled to appear in provincial offences court in Parry Sound on Oct. 31. Greenspan said someone from his office will be there on her behalf.

Dionne said Ruh doesn’t have a court date because his charge is a set fine, commonly known as a ticket.

Dionne said the OPP’s investigation into the crash is ongoing.

WATCH: OPP provide details of crash involving Kevin O’Leary’s boat, won’t confirm businessman’s identity

OPP provide details of crash involving Kevin O’Leary’s boat, won’t confirm businessman’s identity
OPP provide details of crash involving Kevin O’Leary’s boat, won’t confirm businessman’s identity

— With files from Morganne Campbell

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