Man driving other boat struck by vessel captained by Linda O'Leary testifies in Parry Sound courthouse
PARRY SOUND, ONT. -- The man involved in a deadly boat crash two years ago on Lake Joseph testified in the Parry Sound courthouse Tuesday about the day another boat driven by Linda O'Leary hit the vessel he was aboard.
Dr. Richard Ruh told the court he took over captaining the boat on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, from its owner, Dr. Irv Edwards, about five minutes into their group's stargazing trip when he saw boat lights approaching.
Ruh testified that by the time he counted to five in his head, they had been struck by the other vessel. He estimated it was travelling roughly 20 miles per hour at the time.
The boat that struck Edward's had Linda and Kevin O'Leary onboard, with Linda at the helm, according to an agreed statement of facts read on Monday in court.
Ruh said the boat carrying the O'Leary's climbed above the waterline and slammed into the vessel, hitting Gary Poltash, 64, from Florida, and Suzana Brito, 48, from Uxbridge, Ont., who were seated at the front.
Ruh told the court Poltash suffered a blow to his head, and Brito wasn't breathing. He said he gave her CPR, getting her breathing again, adding Poltash died on the dock while Brito passed away days later.
The doctor also testified he is a defendant in six civil suits connected to the deadly collision, including a charge of failing to exhibit a navigation light while underway.
On Tuesday, he said the lights were on. Defence lawyer Brian Greenspan disagreed.
Greenspan said Ruh had given earlier statements saying the moonlights on the boat were off, and surveillance video made the boat appear invisible.
"Your boat was unlit until after the collision," Greenspan said to Dr. Ruh, who differed.
Ruh told the court he paid a $125 ticket for not having the navigation light on - a ticket he contested for more than a year. He signed an attestation of "neither innocence nor guilt."
Linda O'Leary, the wife of celebrity businessman and former politician, Kevin O'Leary, is charged with careless operation of a vessel - she has pleaded not guilty.
Legal analysts said a guilty verdict would make way for lawsuits in civil court.
The trial continues on Wednesday, with two women from the Buffalo area who were said to be on the boat at the time of the crash testifying.
With files from The Canadian Press