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Entertainment Weekly

Books

Stephen King says every day is 'a gift' 20 years after nearly losing leg in road accident

Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images

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You may not remember what you were doing on this day 20 years ago. Stephen King, unfortunately for him, can.

Around 4.30 p.m. on June 19, 1999, the beloved horror author of The Shining and Carrie was walking on the shoulder of a road in North Lovell, Maine, when he was struck from behind by a Dodge Caravan whose driver, a construction worker named Bryan Smith, had lost control of the vehicle. King was badly hurt in the accident and transported first to Northern Cumberland Hospital, then flown by helicopter to Central Maine Hospital.

Two decades on, the novelist marked the anniversary of the incident on Twitter.

“On June 19th, 1999 I got hit by a van while taking a walk,” King wrote Wednesday. “As I lay unconscious in the hospital, the docs debated amputating my right leg and decided it could stay, on a trial basis. I got better. Every day of the 20 years since has been a gift.”

Smith lost his license following the accident and died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl in September 2000.

“I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Bryan Smith,” King said in a statement after the news of his death broke. “The death of a 43-year-old man can only be termed untimely. I would wish better for anyone. Our lives came together in a strange way. I’m grateful I didn’t die. I’m sorry he’s gone.”

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