2 officers, detainee charged in case of patrol vehicle hit by train

Posted at 7:48 AM, November 8, 2022 and last updated 7:50 AM, November 8, 2022

By: Blair Miller

DENVER (KMGH) — Prosecutors have filed charges against the two police officers involved in putting a woman into a patrol car that was hit by a train in Platteville in September, and against the woman who was detained at the time.

Fort Lupton Police Officer Jordan Steinke was charged with criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment, according to a spokesperson for the Weld County District Attorney’s office. The first two counts are felonies.

 

Platteville Police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez was charged with five counts of reckless endangerment (class 2 misdemeanor), one count of obstructing a highway or other passageway, one count of careless driving and one count of parking where prohibited.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was inside the police cruiser after she was arrested for investigation of menacing. She was charged Monday with one count of felony menacing, a class 5 misdemeanor.

Krista Henery, a spokesperson for the district attorney’s office, said the three were issued summonses and were not arrested. The DA’s Office said there were no arrest affidavits available in the case.

The incident happened Sept. 16 near U.S. Highway 85 and the intersection with Weld County Road 36.

RELATED: Video shows train hitting patrol vehicle with arrested woman inside

Officers had been pursuing Rios-Gonzalez after she was allegedly involved in a road rage incident in Fort Lupton earlier in the evening.

Video obtained by KMGH-TV shows the arrest of a woman on Sept. 16 and put into a Platteville Police Department cruiser that was hit by a train a short time later. (Fort Lupton Police Department via KMGH)

Body camera video obtained by KMGH last month shows two officers pulling up behind Rios-Gonzalez’s vehicle just off U.S. 85 and one of them, Vazquez, stopping his vehicle directly on the train tracks.

As the officers, and others who arrived, are going through her vehicle after arresting her and placing her in Vazquez’s car, a train approaches and smashes into the cruiser that was parked on the tracks.

Rios-Gonzalez suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, broken teeth, fractured sternum, and injuries to her leg, back and head, her attorney said. She was hospitalized for more than a week after the crash.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which investigated the incident, said in late October it had presented its case to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.

Henery, with the district attorney’s office, said no other information would be released about the charges on Monday “because of the pending litigation.” No court dates for the three had been set as of Monday afternoon.

This story was originally published Nov. 7 by KMGH in Denver, an E.W. Scripps Company.

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