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2 officers charged after woman hit by train while in police car

The woman is also facing a charge in connection with the alleged road rage incident she was detained for.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Two officers are facing charges after a woman was hit by a train while detained in a police car in Platteville on Sept. 17. The woman is also facing a charge in connection with the alleged road rage incident she was detained for.

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The Weld County District Attorney's Office on Monday filed the charges against all three suspects.

Officers facing charges

Officer Pablo Vazquez parked his police cruiser on train tracks near U.S. 85 and County Road 36 when he pulled over Yareni Rios Gonzalez during a road rage investigation on Sept. 16.

A Fort Lupton police officer, Jordan Steinke, placed Rios Gonzalez in the car. A Union Pacific freight train then hit the police cruiser.

Vazquez is charged with: 

  • Five counts of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, against five victims: Rios Gonzalez, Steinke and three other people
  • One count of obstructing a highway or other passageway
  • One count of careless driving, a traffic offense
  • One count of parking where prohibited

RELATED: Officer who parked on train tracks before crash was called 'incompetent' at prior police agency

Steinke is charged with: 

  • One count of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, a felony
  • One count of second-degree assault, a felony
  • One count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor

Crash victim facing charge

Rios Gonzalez, 20, is charged with one count of felony menacing. She is accused of pointing a gun at another driver in a road rage incident.

Rios Gonzalez suffered nine broken ribs, a fractured sternum and a broken arm and leg in the crash. 

RELATED: Woman hit by train while in police cruiser released from hospital

Paul Wilkinson, who is representing Rios Gonzalez in her civil case against police, said last week that prosecutors told him they would file a charge against her.

Credit: Yareni Rios
A photo of Yareni Rios before she was hit by a freight train while detained in a police vehicle.

Wilkinson said the man who claimed Rios Gonzalez pointed a gun at him was the actual aggressor and that she feared for her life. A Fort Lupton Police report indicates he admitted to “brake checking” Rios Gonzalez during an encounter on the road. 

RELATED: Man who called 911 on woman hit by train in a police car speaks

The DA's office said all three suspects were issued a summons and were not arrested. Their first court dates have not yet been set.

RELATED: 'I didn't know she was in my car': Platteville officer described train incident in body camera footage

RELATED: Report details officers leaving woman in patrol car hit by train


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