Linda O’Leary had alcohol on her breath the same night her boat fatally crashed with another vessel on Ontario’s Lake Joseph, but the wife of Canadian businessman and TV star Kevin O’Leary claimed that she “consumed a drink of vodka following the collision and prior to the breath test,” according to recently unsealed search warrant documents.
Following the crash that left two dead, Linda O’Leary registered an “alert” on a roadside screening device and was given a three-day driving suspension, OPP allege in the documents obtained by Global News.
“She claims that she drank after the accident occurred but cannot remember who gave her the drink,” warrant documents say.
In the documents, OPP allege that Linda O’Leary was on her way home from a dinner party with her husband and another female passenger at the time of the crash.
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“This tragic accident had nothing to do with alcohol,” Brian Greenspan said in a statement emailed to Global News by his assistant.
“Linda O’Leary was not impaired; she is a highly experienced boater who was proceeding cautiously with due care and attention. She collided with a totally unlit boat on a moonless night which was invisible to any prudent operator.
“No one could have avoided the collision.”
The fatal boat crash, which occurred at about 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24 in Seguin, Ont., killed Gary Poltash, 64, from Florida, and Suzana Brito, 48, from Uxbridge, Ont.
Three others, including Linda O’Leary, were injured as a result of the crash.
In connection to the collision, Linda O’Leary was charged with careless operation of a vessel, while the other boat’s operator, Richard Ruh, was charged with failure to exhibit a navigation light.
If O’Leary is found guilty, she could face a $10,000 fine. Ruh’s offence is a set fine, which is akin to a traffic ticket.
Warrant documents show that on the evening of the accident, a group of friends were at Irv Edwards’ home on Lake Joseph in Seguin, Ont. for a dinner party, when 12 people boarded a boat to look at the stars.
“At approximately 11:30pm, while adrift, without the engine running, the vessel was struck by another vessel as it was returning to a nearby cottage,” documents say.
The boat that was stargazing had no navigation lights on and is owned by Edwards, who is a medical doctor, according to warrant documents.
When the two boats collided, a short, verbal interaction took place between the vessels’ occupants, warrant documents say, but both boats left the scene and called for medical help.
After the crash, Kevin and Linda O’Leary’s son, Trevor O’Leary, called 911 claiming that his parents were involved in a boating accident, documents show.
An ambulance was called for a head injury and a foot injury, the latter of which was suffered by Linda O’Leary, according to warrant documents.
Documents say the OPP obtained a warrant to search the O’Leary boathouse to seize the damaged vessel and to conduct a forensic examination on it.
The O’Learys provided the police with a video recorder from their property, warrant documents show, while Edwards also provided police with security footage from his property.
“There is a number of camera locations on the O’Leary property,” warrant documents say.
“Video contained on this device will be examined to prove that the victim vessel had no lights, provide corroborating evidence of the operator of the vessel and the possibility that Linda O’Leary was consuming alcohol following the collision.”
Now, Brito’s relatives are suing the O’Learys for wrongful death and are seeking $2 million in damages.
In an untested and unproven statement of claim, Brito’s relatives say Kevin O’Leary should have known his wife was “incapable of operating the power boat with due care and attention.”
The Brito family is also seeking damages from Ruh, the driver of the second boat, and Edwards, the owner of the vessel.
None of the allegations have been proven or tested in court.
“Our family has lost a beautiful, loving person,” Brito’s mother Rosa Ragone said in a statement in early November. “We are devastated.
“We sincerely hope that through this process, that justice is served.”
— With files from The Canadian Press