Woman pleads guilty in Barbur hit-and-run

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Miriam Clinton of Lake Oswego is likely to get more than two years in prison after a guilty plea Friday to driving while intoxicated, hitting a man (who was walking his bike) with her car and leaving him for dead on the side of Southwest Barbur Boulevard Aug. 16.

Clinton accepted one count each of third-degree assault, driving under the influence of intoxicants and failure to perform the duties of a driver, according to KOIN-TV’s report this morning from Multnomah County Court. Upon her release, her driver’s license will be suspended for five years, the Oregonian reported.

KOIN reported that Clinton “cried throughout Friday’s proceedings, and declined to comment afterwards.”

The victim, Henry Schmidt of Southwest Portland, was a Lewis and Clark College student who had been biking home after a late shift at Pok Pok restaurant on Southeast Division Street. Clinton’s car, which struck him as he walked south on the shoulder, lacerated Schimidt’s spleen and broke his clavicle, cheekbone, three vertebrae, and his left leg in three places.

Clinton turned herself in Aug. 22 after an anonymous tip that her vehicle was at an auto repair shop in Wilsonville, but had initially entered a plea of not guilty, the usual procedure in a criminal case. She’d been driving with a suspended license and had three previous convictions for speeding in Oregon, KGW reported at the time.

Clinton’s sentencing hearing is Nov. 15, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Chuck Sparks said Friday. KOIN and the Oregonian reported that under the plea deal she’s expected to receive 40 months in jail with some time off for drug and alcohol rehab.

As we reported the week after this collision, hit-and-run drivers sometimes escape with lighter deals because it’s harder for authorities to prove intoxication, which can’t be plea-bargained away and carries a strong social stigma. That doesn’t seem to have happened here. On Monday, we’ll be sharing more details about how investigators avoided that situation in this case.

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