F R Y E B U R G, Maine Sept. 25, 2000 -- Horror writer Stephen King expressed sympathy upon learning that the driver who hit him while he waswalking near his summer home last year had died over the weekend.
“I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith,” theauthor said today through his assistant, Julie Eugley. “The deathof a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely.”
There was no sign of violence or trauma when Smith, 43, wasfound dead Friday in the mobile home on Route 302 in Fryeburg wherehe lived with his two dogs, Capt. James Miclon of the Oxford CountySheriff’s Office said.
Smith Missing for Several Days
The medical examiner’s office says an autopsy foundno evidence of trauma but no conclusion was reached on the cause ofdeath. Toxicology tests are being performed but they could takeseveral months.
“He was on a variety of medications for his health,” Miclonsaid.
Smith had not been seen or heard from for about three days. Abrother asked police to check on him. The first officers on thescene observed Smith through a window lying in his bed, but wereunable to get him to respond. Miclon arrived at the home at about9:30 p.m.
Smith struck and seriously injured King while driving a van inNorth Lovell in June 1999. King was walking along a road in thearea, where he has a summer home, when he was hit. He sustainedbroken bones in his right leg and hip, broken ribs, a puncturedlung and a head injury.
Smith pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanordriving-to-endanger charge. Prosecutors dropped a charge ofaggravated assault. Smith received a six-month suspended jailsentence.
Smith said he was distracted by his dog when his van veered offthe road and hit King. He publicly apologized to King whileinsisting the crash was an accident and no one was at fault.
King chided prosecutors for making a deal that did not includeany jail time and did not permanently revoke Smith’s license.
“What he took from me, my time, my peace of mind and my ease ofbody, are simply gone and no court can bring them back,” King saidin a statement that was read in Oxford County Superior Court inJanuary after Smith entered his plea.
King remained in the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewistonfor three weeks and underwent five operations.