Driver Who Hit Stephen King Dies

Horror writer Stephen King expressed sympathy upon learning that the driver who hit him while he was walking near his summer home last year had died over the weekend.

“I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith,” the author said today through his assistant, Julie Eugley. “The death of a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely.”

There was no sign of violence or trauma when Smith, 43, was found dead Friday in the mobile home on Route 302 in Fryeburg where he lived with his two dogs, Capt. James Miclon of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office said.

Smith Missing for Several Days

The medical examiner’s office says an autopsy found no evidence of trauma but no conclusion was reached on the cause of death. Toxicology tests are being performed but they could take several months.

“He was on a variety of medications for his health,” Miclon said.

Smith had not been seen or heard from for about three days. A brother asked police to check on him. The first officers on the scene observed Smith through a window lying in his bed, but were unable to get him to respond. Miclon arrived at the home at about 9:30 p.m.

Smith struck and seriously injured King while driving a van in North Lovell in June 1999. King was walking along a road in the area, where he has a summer home, when he was hit. He sustained broken bones in his right leg and hip, broken ribs, a punctured lung and a head injury.

Smith pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor driving-to-endanger charge. Prosecutors dropped a charge of aggravated assault. Smith received a six-month suspended jail sentence.

Smith said he was distracted by his dog when his van veered off the road and hit King. He publicly apologized to King while insisting the crash was an accident and no one was at fault.

King chided prosecutors for making a deal that did not include any jail time and did not permanently revoke Smith’s license.

“What he took from me, my time, my peace of mind and my ease of body, are simply gone and no court can bring them back,” King said in a statement that was read in Oxford County Superior Court in January after Smith entered his plea.

King remained in the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for three weeks and underwent five operations.

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