04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT
Stephen King is criticizing prosecutors for allowing Bryan Smith, the motorist who hit him, to plead guilty to a lesser charge in connection with the accident. Smith's vehicle struck King on June 19 while the best-selling horror author was walking along the road near his vacation home in Lowell, Maine. Smith, who has a history of driving offenses, pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving to endanger, and a more serious charge of aggravated assault was dropped. (Suspension of Smith's license has been extended from six months to one year, and he was given a suspended six-month jail sentence.) King, who has undergone five operations to set the broken bones in his body, called the plea agreement "irresponsible public business." Of Smith, he said: "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."