PORTLAND – The woman accused of hitting a cyclist on Barbur Boulevard and leaving him for dead in August changed her plea to guilty Friday in a Multnomah County court.
Miriam Clinton, 29, pleaded guilty to assault, DUII, and failure to perform the duties of a driver. She initially entered an automatic plea of not guilty in her first appearance on Aug. 22 after she was arrested and booked in jail on two counts of felony hit-and-run.
Clinton turned herself in to police after an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers led investigators to the suspected vehicle at a body shop in Wilsonville. Further investigation by the police identified her as the driver.
On a Friday morning in August, 20-year-old Henry Schmidt was walking his bike along Barbur Boulevard near Capitol Highway when he was hit from behind by a car. The driver didn’t stop.
A TriMet bus driver saw Schmidt in the road and stopped. Two passengers got off the bus to help him.
Schmidt, a student at Lewis And Clark College, was in the trauma ICU at Oregon Health & Science University with several broken bones, a laceration to his spleen, fractures in his spine, bad road rash and bruises.
On Friday, KGW spoke with Schmidt who was released from the hospital and has been slowly recovering. All of his casts were removed, but he still walks with a limp.
“The dependency is kind of stressful. I was an avid cyclist and that’s shot," he said. "There’s a certain fear that comes with post trauma.”
And even though Schmidt said what happened was reprehensible, he still has sympathy for Clinton.
“I still very much feel all people need to be treated with kindness and compassion. Her guilty plea and a potential 40-month prison sentence it’s not a cause for celebration," he said. "It can’t be easy to be a single mother looking at a jail sentence. On the other hand there needs to be some sort of action.”
Clinton was reportedly driving with a suspended license, and according to court documents, she was convicted three times for speeding violations in Oregon.
Clinton’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Nov. 15.