2 officers charged after train hit patrol car with handcuffed woman inside
Two police officers have been charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts stemming from an incident in which they allegedly placed a handcuffed female suspect in a patrol car that was then hit by a train.
Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, from the Platteville police department, is facing five counts of reckless endangerment, one count each for obstructing highway, other passageway, careless driver, and parking where prohibited. The Weld County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday. Officer Jordan Steinke from the Fort Lupton Police Department has been charged with second-degree assault, criminal attempt at committing manslaughter, and reckless endangerment.
On September 16, officers from both the Platteville Police Department and Fort Lupton Police Department responded to a reported road rage incident on Highway 85, CBS Colorado reported. According to CBS Colorado, Yareni Rios Gonzalez, , was accused of intimidating another person with a gun.
In body camera video of the incident Rios-Gonzalez can be seen being pulled over in front some railroad tracks. The officers placed her in Vazquez’s police cruiser after he stopped at the railroad tracks. A train whistle was heard approaching as the officers searched Rios Gonzalez’s vehicle. The oncoming freight train struck the police cruiser with Rios-Gonzalez still inside.
Rios-Gonzalez suffered serious injuries following the collision, but has since been released from the hospital, according to CBS Colorado.
She was charged with one count felony menacing, according to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office.
A CBS News Colorado investigation found that Vazquez had previously been labeled as a “significant” liability risk by another department he worked at.
Vazquez was placed on leave. An attorney for Vazquez told CBS Colorado that they could not comment “until I see the full indictment.”
Steinke’s attorney told CBS Colorado, “Officer Steinke has faith in the judicial system and trusts she will receive her fair day in court. “
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