PLATTEVILLE, Colo. — Editor's Note: This story previously had information about the history of the train crossing where the crash occurred. Due to updated information about the location of the crash from police, that reporting has been removed.
As state investigators piece together how a woman placed in a police cruiser was hit by a train after an officer parked the cruiser on the tracks, 9NEWS has learned more about the woman and potential charges against the officers involved.
“She was frantically trying to get out,” personal injury attorney Paul Wilkinson told 9NEWS. “Of course, the doors were locked.”
Wilkinson said his client, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, is conscious and able to talk after Friday’s incident in which a Platteville Police Department officer pulled her over on suspicion of road rage with a gun.
Officers were called to the reported road rage incident on Highway 85 in the Fort Lupton area around 7:40 p.m., the Fort Lupton Police Department said.
Law enforcement stopped the suspect car near Highway 85 and County Road 36. A Platteville officer parked his cruiser on the tracks during the stop. Shortly after Rios-Gonzalez was placed in the cruiser, the train hit it.
Rios-Gonzalez, who works as a TSA agent, suffered nine broken ribs, a fractured sternum, a broken arm and numerous other injuries to her head, back and legs, her attorney said.
“She’s definitely upset about what happened. She doesn’t understand why she was left in the car. She was yelling to get their attention and could see the train coming,” Wilkinson said.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Colorado State Patrol are investigating the incident while Fort Lupton Police are investigating the alleged road rage case before the collision.
9NEWS has learned the Fort Lupton Police Department has submitted a felony summons against the suspect to the Weld County District Attorney for review.
“Our intake attorney will be looking at it to determine if charges will be filed,” an office administrator for the district attorney said over email.
Earlier this week, the Weld County District Attorney's Office also indicated to 9NEWS it would review potential charges against police in the case.
9NEWS Legal Analyst Scott Robinson said there are grounds for criminal charges against police -- even potentially felony assault.
“The officers can clearly be charged. This was absolutely reckless behavior,” Robinson said. “It’s really inconceivable that in this day and age, any adult would park on railroad tracks. If that isn’t the essence of reckless behavior, I don’t know what is.”
Keith Millhouse, a rail safety consultant who spent 12 years serving as a board member for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, said the collision was entirely preventable.
“Never park a car on a set of train tracks for any amount of time, even if you think it's abandoned,” Millhouse said. “It’s just mind-boggling that this could occur.”
9NEWS has reached out to Platteville Chief of Police Carl Dwyer for comment, but he has not responded.
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