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Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK


King crash driver faces charges

Stephen King: Seriously injured in June's accident

The camper van driver who knocked over horror author Stephen King has been indicted on a charge of aggravated assault by a US court.

The grand jury in Oxford County, Maine, also indicted Bryan E Smith on a charge of driving to endanger, adding it found he "did recklessly cause serious body injury to Stephen King" as he walked along a country road on 19 June in rural Lovell, west of Portland, Maine.

King, who was walking against the flow of traffic, was thrown 14 feet (4.5 metres) and suffered multiple broken bones, a chipped spine, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He is continuing his recovery at his home.

Aggravated assault carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, while driving to endanger carries a sentence of up to six months.

[ image: King in August with his clamped leg - it may be lit up come 31 October]
King in August with his clamped leg - it may be lit up come 31 October
Smith, 42, told police he had lost control of the camper van because he had been distracted by his dog. He called the incident "an accident without a cause", and has said he believes it should not be treated as a crime.

But in August, 52-year-old King told a local newspaper, The Bangor Daily News, that Smith was a danger to himself and others, and that he would like to see Smith's driving licence taken away.

District Attorney Norman Croteau said King had not received any special treatment from the jury.

Smith has sold the camper van to King's lawyer and the writer has said he wants to destroy it.

"Yes, we've got the van, and I'm going to take a sledgehammer and beat it," he said last week.

King's injured leg is held in place by metal clamps, and he told The Bridgton News that if the clamps were still in place by Hallowe'en, he would decorate them with lanterns.

King has written more than 30 novels, many of which have been made into films. They include The Shining, Carrie, Pet Sematary and Misery.

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Horror writer hurt in accident

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