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Woman accused in racist hit-and-run charged in another crash

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 December 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, travelling onto a sidewalk and hitting a 12-year-old boy in an apartment complex in Des Moines. The boy suffered minor injuries.    

Witnesses to the crash told police that the vehicle accelerated prior to the crash, drove onto the sidewalk and hit the boy, CBS Des Moines affiliate KCCI reported.

Des Moines police Sergeant Paul Parizek told KCCI did not discuss her motive for hitting the 12-year-old with investigators.

In the other incident, Franklin was charged with attempted murder after a sport utility vehicle hit a 14-year-old who was walking to school to watch a basketball game. The girl 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 the girl.

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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