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Plea deal in fatal boat crash on Country Pond in Kingston would allow six-month jail term

Union Leader Correspondent

June 23. 2014 2:54PM
Lawrence Buswell, 53, of Kingston, struck a plea agreement with prosecutors regarding the fatal boat crash that claimed the life of a Merrimack man. (JAMES A. KIMBLE PHOTO)

BRENTWOOD — County prosecutors are recommending that a Plaistow lawyer charged with causing a fatal boat crash that killed a 54-year-old Merrimack man and injured three passengers serve only six months in county jail.

The deal for Lawrence Buswell, 53, would allow him to avoid felony charges of negligent homicide and three counts of second-degree assault for allegedly causing the fatal boat crash on Country Pond in Kingston on the night of May 26, 2012, according to court records. Each of those charges are punishable by 3½ to 7 years in state prison.

Instead, Buswell would plead guilty to four counts of misdemeanor vehicular assault. Half of a 12-month jail sentence would be suspended and Buswell would not have his driver’s license suspended, according to terms of the agreement filed in Rockingham County Superior Court.

A Rockingham County Superior Court judge would have to accept the deal.

The jail sentence would be for causing the death of Erick Eskeland, who was piloting his Sea Ray boat with his family aboard before it was struck by Buswell’s boat around 11:30 p.m., the agreement says.

Buswell allegedly failed to keep a proper lookout when he struck the back of Eskeland’s boat and drove over the top of it, according to an indictment.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea deal after Judge N. William Delker ruled in their favor regarding evidence challenged in the case.

Delker rejected Buswell’s arguments that his statements to investigators could not be used at trial. The case has since been transferred to Judge David Anderson.

Buswell had argued that he was in police custody when he was being questioned at his family’s waterfront home. The family owns a campground around the pond.

Buswell’s lawyers also maintained that investigators should have stopped questioning Buswell once he invoked his right not to speak to police.

Delker disagreed.

Buswell told investigators that he was delivering newspapers and did not see Eskeland’s boat when his boat collided with it, according to court testimony.

Buswell is facing felonious sexual assault charges in an unrelated case. He allegedly raped a 15-year-old boy between July and August 2011 in a boat on the same lake.

Trial in the sexual assault case is scheduled for July 28. His plea and sentencing in the boating case is expected on Aug. 14.

Courts Crime Kingston

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