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A NEW CHAPTER FOR KING

Horror writer Stephen King has obtained a macabre souvenir from the accident that left him seriously injured: He bought the minivan that struck him.

"Yes, we've got the van, and I'm going to take a sledgehammer and beat . . . it!" King told Thursday's editions of the the Bridgton News.

The driver, Bryan Smith, 42, said in an earlier interview that King's lawyer and two other men paid $1,500 for the 1985 Dodge Caravan that he was driving when he hit King.

Smith has said he was distracted by his Rottweiler when he hit King, who was walking on the shoulder of a road in North Lovell.

King, 52, has kept his sense of humor throughout the ordeal. He joked that he must wear wide-bottomed skateboard pants to cover a metal device that surrounds his injured leg.

If he still has the contraption on his leg at Halloween, he said he plans to decorate it with jack-o'-lanterns.

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