What we know and still don't know about the fatal boat crash involving Kevin O'Leary
Sean Davidson, CTV News Toronto
Published Friday, August 30, 2019 9:42AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 24, 2019 2:25PM EDT
Nearly a week after a double fatal boat crash that involved millionaire businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary there are many unanswered questions about what exactly happened.
The Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that two people, a 48-year-old Uxbridge, Ontario resident and a 64-year-old Florida man were killed in the two-boat crash on Lake Joseph, near Emerald Island in Seguin Township, around 11.30 p.m. on Saturday. Seguin Township is about 215 kilometres north of Toronto.
The victims have been identified as father-of-two Gary Poltash and mother-of-three Susanne Brito.
What we know
Kevin O’Leary, who was not seriously injured in the crash, claimed the boat Brito and Poltash were travelling in had “no navigation lights on” and “fled the scene” following the crash.
Police have denied that either of the boats fled the scene, saying that both watercrafts left to "attend a location and both parties called 911."
The two boats involved in the crash were a 13-occupant wakeboard pleasure craft and a small ski boat, police said.
Poltash and Brito were both on the pleasure craft. O’Leary was a passenger on the smaller ski boat, Poltash's brother said.
Kevin O'Leary was involved in the fatal Lake Joseph crash on Saturday. (The Canadian Press)
The boat that Poltash and Brito were on was owned by a friend, who is a medical doctor from California, and owns a cottage on Lake Joseph, Poltash’s brother said.
He also said the doctor drove the boat to a nearby marina so that paramedics would be able to locate them after the crash.
The OPP said the criminal investigation branch is now looking into the crash.
O’Leary said in a statement that he is “fully cooperating” with the police investigation.
On Friday morning, Suzanne Brito's family issued a statement expressing their gratitude for the outpouring of support they've received since her death.
The family asked for privacy in the coming weeks as they cope with the loss. She leaves behind three children, aged 12, 11 and nine.
What we don’t know
Police would not confirm who was driving the boat that O'Leary was travelling in. They would also not confirm how many people were in the boat with O’Leary or who the boat belonged to.
In a statement released by O’Leary after the crash, he claimed the other boat “fled the scene”. While police won’t comment on the specifics of the crash, they quickly rejected that either of the boats fled the scene.
Police have not said if both boats were operating with proper navigation lights.
Police have not said how long their investigation will take or if any charges would be laid.
Three other people were taken to hospital and later released but police would not say which boat those victims were travelling in.
Family and friends remember the victims
The funeral for Brito, who is survived by her husband and three children, will be held on Saturday in Uxbridge, according to an obituary posted online.
In a statement sent to CTV News Toronto, Heidi Barriage described her friend, who was known as Suzana, as “kind, genuine, and vivacious.”
“I loved her from the moment we met. She didn’t take her friendships lightly and made her love known to everyone she cared for,” Barriage said.
“Suzana loved her children deeply and often spoke of her family. She never took life for granted and lived with such a positive energy that many of us will miss dearly. I’m heartbroken and will cherish our friendship forever.”
Susanne Brito, 48, was killed in the crash. (Supplied)
The mayor of Uxbridge, Dave Barton, described Brito as an “active member” of the community.
Barton said her “energy and enthusiasm will be missed by all who knew her.”
Speaking to CP24 on Wednesday night, Larry Poltash remembered his brother as a “handsome guy” who loved to have fun. He said he played football and attended the University of Southern California.
Gary Poltash, 64, was also killed in the boat crash. (Supplied)
Poltash said his brother went to work for a big accounting firm after graduation but ultimately decided to start his own business.
After retirement, he moved to North Carolina and then eventually settled in Florida, where he has resided for about two years.
Poltash added that his brother’s children are on their way to Toronto and a funeral will likely be held for him in early September in San Pedro, Calif.