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Woman who ran over bicyclist in parking lot takes plea deal

CEDAR RAPIDS (AP) — A Central City woman accused of running over and killing a bicyclist has taken a plea deal.

Melinda Lawrence, 61, took the deal before jury selection was to begin Monday in Cedar Rapids. She originally pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Under the agreement, she pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while intoxicated, willful injury and going armed with intent. The agreement calls for all three sentences to run consecutively, for a total of 40 years.

Online court records don’t yet show when she will be sentenced.

“I believe the plea agreement that results in a 40-year prison term achieves justice, and the most important thing is that the family approved the resolution,” said Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden.

Lawrence drove her small sport utility vehicle over Jeffrey Scott on his bicycle on Aug. 30, 2018, in the parking lot of a Dollar General store in Central City.

A search warrant affidavit said a friend of Scott told investigators Lawrence had been stalking Scott and had previously tried to run him off a road. The friend indicated Lawrence believed Scott had stolen her purse. There was never any proof of the theft, Vander Sanden said, and no charges were filed against Scott.