Affidavit: Vehicular Homicide Suspect Left Scene, Changed Clothes before Talking to Police
By Vanessa Miller, Reporter
IOWA CITY -- After allegedly hitting and killing her friend with her 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 truck, Miranda Lalla is accused of leaving the scene to change her clothes before returning to talk with officers.
According to a search warrant affidavit made public this week for Lalla's truck and her apartment at 227 E. 1st St. in Iowa City, police found drug paraphernalia related to crack cocaine in her home. Investigators also now believe that Lalla, 50, ran to her apartment – across the street from the crime scene – to change her clothes before talking to police, the affidavit shows.
Lalla, who's charges were upgraded with the Johnson County Attorney's Office this morning from operating while intoxicated to vehicular homicide, told a detective that she wanted to change out of the dress she was wearing at the time because "it ripped during the altercation."
Officers were called to the parking lot of the apartment complex at 315 E. 1st St. in Iowa City just after 7 p.m. June 17 on a report of a motor vehicle accident. Upon arrival, investigators learned that Lalla and Pamela Gross, 44, of Iowa City, had gotten into an argument, and as Lalla tried to pull away in her truck, she struck and ran over Gross and then hit several other vehicles in the parking lot, according to the affidavit.
The altercation had started as a physical fight, according to police. When Lalla tried to leave, Gross was standing next to truck, on the driver's side, and was knocked down because the door had been open when Lalla started to reverse, according to police.
Gross was rushed to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where she was pronounced dead from the injuries she sustained in the parking lot, according to the affidavit.
Lalla told investigators she had been at the Jobsite bar in Iowa City having a few beers that evening, according to a criminal complaint. She said she drove a friend home, and they began to fight in the parking lot, the complaint reports.
Lalla showed measurable impairment when performing standardized field sobriety tests after the accident. Officers tested her blood alcohol content level at the scene at .093. She later refused chemical testing, according to police, but investigators obtained a search warrant for a blood test. Toxicology results are pending.
Witnesses at the scene of the accident reported that Lalla fled to a building across the street, although she returned while officers were still there investigating, according to the affidavit. A detective went to Lalla's apartment – on the second floor – and spoke to another man who lives on the same floor.
Jeff Mound told the officer that Lalla had come inside the building and went into her apartment to change her clothes, affidavit shows. She was only in her apartment for 30 seconds, Mound said, according to the affidavit.
During a search of Lalla's apartment, officers recovered numerous pieces of evidence related to drug use, including glass pipes and baggies with drug residue, according to the court documents.
Lalla remains in the Johnson County Jail, where she's being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.