Public Safety

Iowa woman accused in racist attack charged in second hit-and-run

Before hitting 14-year-old she thought was Mexican, police say, she hit 12-year-old in Des Moines

CLIVE — An Iowa woman who told police she intentionally ran over a teenager because she believed the girl was Mexican has been charged with another hit-and-run crash that hurt a 12-year-old boy.

Nicole Franklin, who also goes by the name Nicole Poole, was charged Monday by Des Moines police with attempted murder in connection with a Dec. 9 crash that occurred less than an hour before another crash in suburban Clive.

In the latest charge, Franklin was accused of leaving a roadway, traveling onto a sidewalk and hitting a 12-year-old boy at an apartment complex in Des Moines. The boy suffered minor injuries.

In the other incident, Franklin was charged with attempted murder after a sport utility vehicle hit Natalia Miranda as the 14-year-old was walking to school to watch a basketball game. Miranda suffered a concussion and severe bruising and was hospitalized for two days.

Franklin made derogatory statements about Latinos during a police interview in which she admitted intentionally running over the teenager.

Separately, Franklin was charged Sunday with assault in violation of individual rights and with operating under the influence, second offense. Those charges came after Franklin allegedly went to a convenience store where she threw items at a clerk and directed racial epithets at him and customers.

Franklin’s attorney didn’t return a call Monday from the Associated Press.

On Sunday, Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, called for a hate crime charge against Franklin in the attack on Miranda.

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Joe Henry, who is president of the group’s Des Moines branch, echoed Garcia’s call and told the Des Moines Register that it would be wrong if prosecutors did not charge her with a hate crime.

“It would give the green light to anybody to do this type of terrible thing,” Henry said.

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone said a hate crime charge enhances other charges, such as arson and assault, but doesn’t apply to attempted murder.

“It may sound nice, but it doesn’t help anything,” Sarcone said. “When it’s appropriate to enhance, we’ll do it.”

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