PORTLAND, Ore. – A Lake Oswego woman sobbed as she stood in front of a judge to plead guilty in the hit-and-run accident that severely injured a Lewis and Clark student this summer.
Miriam Clinton pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, felony hit and run and driving under the influence.
Clinton broke down when Multnomah County Circuit Judge John Wittmayer warned her he wasn’t bound by the terms of the plea agreement. The agreement calls for her to spend 40 months in prison with time off for drug and alcohol counseling, and a five-year suspension of her driver's license.
“You’re taking a chance about how this turns out for you if you plead guilty – do you understand that?” he asked.
Clinton sobbed as she acknowledged she did.
Henry Schmidt was bicycling home from his job at Pok-Pok when Clinton hit him early on the morning of Aug. 16.
He was wearing a helmet, but his leg was broken in several places, his spleen was lacerated and he suffered three minor spine fractures and a mild concussion.
Two days later, KATU’s Hillary Lake was at the scene of the crash on S.W. Barbur Blvd. and found a piece of evidence that led police to identify the car that hit Schmidt as a late-model Subaru Legacy.
Clinton had taken her Legacy to a retired mechanic who occasionally did work for her. He had seen news reports about the accident, and turned her in.
On Aug. 22, Clinton turned herself in to police.
Clinton will be sentenced Nov. 15. Wittmayer warned her that if she doesn’t show up on time, her punishment will double as part of the agreement.
Victim reacts to plea
The prosecutor asked ahead of time if Schmidt was OK with the plea bargain.
Schmidt wanted to be in court Friday, but he had physics class. He's back in college and back at home. But he's still not back to his old self.
He took his first standing shower earlier this week. Previously, it was a painful ordeal that required him to sit on a special chair.
He said he has nothing really to say to the woman who hit him.
"It's always a sad day when someone's sentenced to any prison time. I derive no sense of pleasure," he said.
Schmidt faces at least two more months of physical therapy twice a week and special exercises every day.
He will be able to bike again but with new titanium rods in his leg.
KATU reporter Dan Cassuto contributed to this report.