BRENTWOOD, N.H.  — A boat operator has avoided jail time after pleading guilty to causing an accident that killed his 7-year-old granddaughter and his girlfriend on the Piscataqua River in Newington, New Hampshire.

John Wickman of Eliot pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of negligent homicide. He was sentenced to up to seven years in prison, but that has been suspended for 10 years if he gives up his right to operate a boat and performs community service.

Assistant Rockingham County Attorney Ryan Ollis said Wickman became distracted on May 5, 2018, looking at his GPS, before striking a buoy. All four people aboard the boat were injured. One of his granddaughters, Kallin Wickman, and his girlfriend, Laurie Stewart, died from their injuries.

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