Stephen King run down by distracted driver

THE HORROR novelist Stephen King, one of America's best selling authors, was recovering in hospital yesterday with a broken leg, hip and a punctured lung after being hit by a car near his home in Maine.

King underwent several hours of surgery early yesterday morning and was later said by doctors to be alert and comfortable. He sustained no head or serious internal injury.

The 51-year-old writer was walking near his summer home west of Portland in Maine on Saturday afternoon when he was struck from behind. The motorist was distracted by a dog in his vehicle and lost control, police said, adding that there was no indication the man was speeding or under the influence of alcohol. No charges had been filed.

King was thrown nearly 14 feet by the impact and was picked up from the side of the road in a scene reminiscent of the plot of one of his own best sellers.

In Misery, which was turned into a major film some years ago, a famous author is seriously injured in a car crash returning from his holiday hideaway. The character is rescued and nursed by a deluded fan who imprisons him in her remote farmhouse, and forces him to rewrite his latest novel from scratch. King himself was retrieved from the scene of Saturday's accident by the local sheriff, Matt Baker, and although in pain was able to communicate. He gave the sheriff phone numbers to call.

A former English teacher,King created his own horror genre and is the author of 36 books including The Shining, Carrie, Salem's Lot, Pet Sematary and Dolores Claiborne. His latest work, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is on several best-seller lists in the United States this week.

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