Officers charged after train hits police car with handcuffed woman inside

Officers charged after train hits police car with handcuffed woman inside

Two police officers in Colorado have been charged nearly two months after a 20-year-old was seriously injured when she was struck by a train while handcuffed in the back seat of a patrol SUV parked on a railroad crossing.

Jordan Steinke of the Fort Lupton Police Department was charged with one count of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter and one count of second degree assault, both felonies, as well as one count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Monday.

Pablo Vazquez of the Platteville Police Department was charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment; one count of obstructing highway or other passageway, a petty offense; one count of careless driving, a traffic infraction, and one count of parking where prohibited, also a traffic infraction.

Steinke and Vazquez could not immediately be reached at numbers listed for them. It’s unclear whether they have retained attorneys.


The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has said the officers were responding Sept. 16 to an alleged road rage incident involving a gun.

A Platteville police officer stopped Yareni Rios-Gonzalez’s car just past a set of railroad tracks, north of Platteville, near Denver, and parked the patrol vehicle on the crossing.

Two Fort Lupton officers arrived and she was detained on suspicion of felony menacing. She was placed in the back of the Platteville officer’s vehicle, which the train hit as it was traveling northbound while officers searched her car. 

Rios-Gonzalez, a Greeley resident, was seriously injured in the crash. Her attorney, Jonathan Stine, has said that the impact caused her to lose teeth and left her with a broken arm, multiple fractured ribs and injuries to her head and legs. No one else was injured.

Rios-Gonzalez was charged with one count of felony menacing, the district attorney’s office said. Her attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.

Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer previously said the officer involved in the incident from his department had been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is completed. The Fort Lupton Police Department, which is handling the criminal investigation into the initial road rage report, did not immediately respond to an inquiry Tuesday about Steinke’s employment status but told NBC News after the collision that it did not have any officers on leave.

Steinke, Vazquez and Rios-Gonzalez were issued summonses and were not arrested, the district attorney’s office said, adding that their court dates had not been set. 

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