Motorist pleads guilty to accident that injured King


Tuesday, January 4th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


PARIS, Maine (AP) -- The motorist who hit horror writer Stephen King pleaded guilty Tuesday to lesser charges under a plea
agreement that will keep him out of jail.

Bryan Smith pleaded guilty to driving to endanger, and a more serious charged of aggravated assault was dropped.

Smith's license had been suspended for six months after the incident, and that will be extended to a year. Smith was also given
a suspended six-month jail sentence.

Smith, who has a history of driving offenses, did not address the court. He has said he was distracted by his dog when his van veered off a road and hit King on June 19 in Lovell, where King has a vacation home.

King, 52, underwent five operations to set the broken bones in his right leg and hip. He also suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and a skull laceration.

He chided prosecutors for not trying Smith on the more serious charge and called the plea agreement "irresponsible public business." He said he did not believe a license suspension would keep Smith off the road because it did not in the past.

"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.

King has said he was angered that Smith was allowed to keep his license for three months after the crash. It was suspended after Smith was indicted.

State records show Smith was convicted of driving to endanger and failing to stop upon the signal of a police officer in 1998.

He was also convicted of failing to produce evidence of insurance in 1991, driving while intoxicated in 1989 and four speeding violations since 1988.

King has kept his sense of humor. In September, King bought the 1985 Dodge Caravan that hit him for $1,500 cash and said he planned to "beat the hell out of it" with a sledgehammer.