EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 26, 2013

Plaistow lawyer charged in fatal boat crash

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — BRENTWOOD — A Plaistow lawyer will be arraigned next week on charges he caused a boat collision in Kingston that killed a Merrimack man and injured several other people.

Lawrence Buswell Jr. of Kingston, 52, is scheduled to appear Thursday in Rockingham Superior Court after he was charged with vehicular assault and careless and negligent operation of a boat in connection with the accident that killed Eric Eskeland, 54, on May 26, 2012.

Eskeland’s five passengers also were hurt in the crash on Country Pond, including two who received head injuries. Buswell, who was not injured, was recently charged following a yearlong investigation by the state Marine Patrol and the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office.

Both charges are misdemeanors each punishable by a year in jail, but Buswell could also face felony charges.

County Attorney James Reams said yesterday his office is still reviewing the case and that additional charges are being considered

Only two weeks ago, Buswell was arraigned in a separate case on charges he sexually assaulted a teenage boy on his boat two years ago.

Buswell pleaded not guilty July 8 in 10th Circuit Court in Plaistow to three misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and a single charge of providing alcohol to a minor. He also faces two felony statutory rape charges that will be tried in Superior Court.

He was charged with giving a 15-year-old boy vodka and taking him out on Country Pond in his boat and raping him between July 1, 2011, and Aug. 5, 2011. He was arrested by Kingston police in May.

The accident last May occurred shortly before midnight when Buswell’s 20-foot powerboat struck Eskeland’s 17-foot powerboat, according to Marine Patrol Sgt. Crystal McLain.

The crash’s impact caused Debra Eskeland, 55, of Merrimack and Michael Sawyer, 32, of Nashua to suffer head injuries.

Also injured were Loretta Garrett, 46, of Bradford, Mass., who suffered lacerations and internal injuries. Scott Garrett, 45, of Bradford and Chad Descoteaux, 33, of Hudson also received lacerations.

The Eskeland family has retained an attorney, Stephen Goldman of Concord. He said yesterday the crash has taken a toll on the family.

“It was a very close, loving family and there was a major devastating impact,” he said. “They are trying to move forward and it’s very difficult.”

Goldman said his clients were enjoying a pleasant trip on the pond when Buswell’s powerboat suddenly struck their vessel from behind and continued over the top of their boat.

“I believe it was unquestionable that the accident was caused by Mr. Buswell,” he said.

He said yesterday he learned Buswell could be facing felony charges, which could put him in state prison for years if convicted. He said he is awaiting the outcome of the criminal case against Buswell before deciding whether to take legal action.

Buswell remains free on $50,000 personal recognizance bail.

Neither Buswell, who has a law office on Main Street in Plaistow, nor his attorney, Patrick Devine, could be reached for comment yesterday. They declined to comment on Buswell’s legal troubles following his arraignment on the sex assault charges earlier this month.