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Plaistow lawyer gets six months in fatal boat crash

Union Leader Correspondent

August 14. 2014 9:35PM
Lawrence Buswell, 53, pleaded guilty to four counts of misdemeanor vehicular assault on Thursday in Rockingham County Superior Court. (JAMES A. KIMBLE)

BRENTWOOD — A Plaistow lawyer was sentenced to six months in county jail Thursday for fatally striking a 54-year-old Merrimack man while piloting his boat on Country Pond in Kingston.

Lawrence Buswell, 53, pleaded guilty to three counts of misdemeanor vehicular assault as part of a plea deal that allowed him to avoid felony charges and the prospect of a state prison term.

Buswell received a one-year county jail term, half of which will be suspended if he remains on good behavior.

Buswell was indicted on negligent homicide and second-degree assault charges for killing 54-year-old Eric Eskeland and injuring three others on May 26, 2012, according to prosecutors.

Assistant County Attorney Lisa Cirulli said people in Eskeland’s boat could see Buswell’s boat approaching before he struck them from behind, running up over the top of them and killing Eskeland.

Thursday’s sentence came three weeks after a jury found Buswell not guilty of felonious sexual assault charges, rejecting allegations that he raped a 15-year-old boy on this boat in 2011.

Cirulli, who also prosecuted the sex assault case, suggested to Judge David Anderson on Thursday that the state had problems with its evidence if they took the case to trial.

Cirulli said she expected there would have been conflicting testimony by witnesses on the shore about whether Eskeland’s boat had lights on at the time.

Buswell was not intoxicated at the time, prosecutors said. Buswell will not have his driver’s license suspended as a result of his conviction.

The plea deal was approved by victims in the case, according to Cirulli.

“What I can say in this case is that it’s an absolute tragedy,” she said.

Anderson quizzed Buswell about giving up his right to trial before accepting his guilty plea.

Cirulli read a statement from Eskeland’s wife, Debra, who spoke of enduring the loss of her husband and the impact it has had on their children.

“I miss my husband,” she said in the statement. “I miss the companionship we had.”

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