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Felony charge dropped against officer in case of woman struck by train in Platteville police cruiser

A felony assault charge has been dropped against a Fort Lupton police officer in the case of a Colorado woman hit by a train while trapped in a Platteville police vehicle.
train-car crash platteville police sept 16 2022
Posted at 1:03 PM, Feb 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-24 15:53:42-05

PLATTEVILLE, Colo. — A felony assault charge has been dropped against a Fort Lupton police officer in the case of a Colorado woman hit by a trainwhile trapped in a Platteville police vehicle.

The Weld County District Attorney's office dismissed the second-degree felony assault charge against Officer Jordan Steinke, according to a court filing.

Officer Steinke still faces other charges in the incident, including criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, a Class 5 felony, and reckless endangerment, a Class 2 misdemeanor.

A second officer in the incident, Platteville Police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, faces 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.

"Upon further review, we have decided to move forward with the existing charges that we feel are most appropriate in this case." said Krista Henery, Community Relations Director with the Weld County DA.

The charges stem from the Sept. 16, 2022 arrest of Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, of Greeley who was arrested and placed into the patrol vehicle near the U.S.Highway 85 and Weld County Road 36 intersection moments before the unit was struck by an oncoming train.

Police were initially pursuing Rios-Gonzalez in connection to a call in Fort Lupton reporting an alleged road rage incident involving a firearm.

Body camera video captured the sequence of the arrest once officers pulled up behind her vehicle, which pulled to a stop on the county road just past the railroad tracks. The video obtained by Denver7 showed Sgt. Vazquez stopped his vehicle directly on the train tracks.

Rios-Gonzalez was handcuffed and placed in the rear caged portion of the vehicle and was unable to open the doors from the inside or climb into the front seat, according to a 40-page lawsuit she later filed.

Video shows train hit Platteville police cruiser while suspect was inside

After the train struck the patrol unit, Rios-Gonzalez was removed from the vehicle and could be seen on body cam video “bleeding from the head” and “semi-conscious,” according to the lawsuit.

Her attorney said her injuries included a broken arm, ribs, teeth, fractured sternum and other injuries to her leg.

She was charged with one count of felony menacing, a Class 5 misdemeanor.

Denver7's Stephanie Butzer contributed to this report.

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