NEWS 2000

Bryan Smith, the man who hit Stephen King on June 19, 1999 pleaded guilty Tuesday, January 4:th, 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 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. He also said he wanted the more serious charge to be pressed so Smith could be kept off the road longer, "so that if Mr. Smith should hurt someone else, or even kill someone else, as he nearly killed me, we could at least all say we had done our absolute level best to keep this from happening," King said.

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.