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Driver arrested in Barbur hit-and-run

by: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE - Miriam Ann Clinton as shown in a booking photo distributed by Portland Police Bureau Aug. 22, 2013. 
A woman believed to be behind the wheel of a vehicle that hit a bicyclist in southwest Portland Aug. 16 was arrested Thursday.

Miriam Ann Clinton, 29, of Lake Oswego, turned herself in to officers with the Portland Police Bureau’s Traffic Division at Central Precinct Thursday afternoon, Sgt. Pete Simpson said. She was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on two counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver (felony hit and run), police said.

Clinton has a history of traffic violations, including speeding, and citations for driving while suspended. Ironically, court records show she was the victim of a crash earlier this year, which neighbors say was hit-and-run.

Henry Schmidt suffered a fractured spine and a lacerated spleen when he was hit by a car while in the bike lane on SW Barbur in Portland.

The charges follow a hit-and-run crash early Friday, Aug. 16, Simpson said. Henry Schmidt was reportedly walking his bike in a bike lane when he was hit. The crash left the 20-year-old injured on the side of SW Barbur Boulevard near the Capitol Highway ramp. A TriMet driver stopped to help the downed cyclist.

“I’m incredibly happy to see that they found this person,” victim Henry Schmidt told KOIN 6 News Thursday. Schmidt still has a long road ahead to recovery. He’s in fair condition with a broken shoulder, a lacerated spleen and other injuries.

Schmidt, who went public almost immediately after the crash, hopes the arrest sends a message to other drivers to be accountable.

“I just wanted to make sure the system was working and in place,” he said, “so that the next time this happens the person would consider not running.”

Law enforcement sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told KOIN 6 News prosecutors will consider filing hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, among other felony charges, because Clinton reportedly had her vehicle towed to an auto body shop in Wilsonville by a roadside assistance company.

As part of the investigation, police also will work on putting together a timeline of Clinton’s whereabouts on Thursday night into Friday morning, sources said. They will look to see if she was out drinking, officials said.

Police said the reason Clinton has been booked on two counts of felony hit-and-run is because she did not stop and immediately render aid to an injured person and failed to remain on scene after causing a crash.

Sources said there is still a lot of investigation to be done and that a grand jury would be convened.

“An anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Oregon led investigators to the suspect vehicle, a black 2011 Subaru Legacy, at a body shop in Wilsonville, Oregon,” the bureau reported. “Additional investigation identified the driver.”

Clinton is expected to be arraigned in Multnomah County Court Friday.

“We were getting close, and I don’t know what led her to turn herself in,” said Lt. Chris Davis with Portland’s traffic division. “But eventually we would have found her anyway.”

Meanwhile, Schmidt took the time Thursday to thank everyone from hospital staff to the bus driver and passengers who helped him that night.

“I encountered one person who didn’t have the decency to treat me like a human being, and left me lying on the side of the road,” he told KOIN 6 News. “But I’ve met so many people who have treated me with so much decency, and been nothing but advocates for my recovery.”

Brent Weisberg contributed to this report. Follow on Twitter: @BrentKOIN