Man killed in boat crash involving Kevin O'Leary was 'fun-loving' father of 2, his brother says
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:20AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 30, 2019 7:16AM EDT
The brother of a Florida man killed in a boat crash involving celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary says the retired accountant was an “All-American," "fun-loving” father of two adult children.
Gary Poltash, a 64-year-old man from Belleair Beach, Fla., and 48-year-old Uxbridge resident Susanne Brito were killed when their boat collided with another watercraft on Lake Joseph near Emerald Island in Seguin Township, Ont. at around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday.
O’Leary was one of the passengers on board the other boat.
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.
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 the past two years.
Poltash added that his brother’s children are on their way to Toronto and a funeral will likely be held for him this weekend in San Pedro, Calif.
The funeral for Brito, who is survived by her husband and three children, will be held on Saturday, according to an obituary posted online.
Victim of crash 'never took life for granted,' friend says
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.”
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.”
Police still investigating
In a statement, O’Leary, who was not seriously injured, claimed that the boat Brito and Poltash were travelling on had “no navigation lights on” and added that it “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."
Poltash confirmed that his brother was on a boat owned by a friend, who is a medical doctor from California, and said that after the crash, the doctor navigated the watercraft to a marina so an ambulance would know where to find them.
“I hope when it’s all said and done, it’s just an accident,” Poltash said.
Ontario Provincial Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deadly crash.