Two officers have been criminally charged after leaving a suspect in a police car parked on train tracks when a locomotive was blowing full speed ahead, per the Denver Gazette. The two officers insist they were too distracted conducting the traffic stop to notice the horn blaring from the train.
Last month, officers pursued Yareni Rios-Gonzalez in a road rage incident where she allegedly flashed a gun at another driver, the report said. In the body camera footage, Platteville Police Sergeant Pablo Vazquez (for whatever absent-minded reason) parked his police cruiser on the train tracks when he pulled over Rios-Gonzalez. Fort Lupton Officer Jordan Steinke is seen in the video putting handcuffs on Rios-Gonzalez, walking her to Vazuqez’s cruiser and putting her in the backseat.
As the officers searched her vehicle, the report says the train hit the police car at a speed of 45 miles per hour. In another video, a Colorado State Patrol officer responded to the crash, asking Steinke if he put her in the cop car.
“Yes. I didn’t know she (Rios-Gonzalez) was in my car because when the train hit I said ‘Was she in my car?” and [Steinke] said ‘Oh my God, she was.’ So I didn’t know she was in my car anyhow,” Vazquez responded in the video, also claiming he thought he’d cleared the tracks.
Vazquez dug himself a deeper hole claiming he was “too focused” searching her vehicle for weapons to notice the several signals from the train horn...or the sound of the train approaching...or the lights of the train cart approaching. Y’all buy that? I don’t.
Read more about the case from Denver Gazette:
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke announced three charges Monday against Fort Lupton police officer Jordan Steinke including criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, reckless endangerment and second degree assault. The weapon in the charging document is described as a locomotive.
Fort Lupton Police Chief John Fryar told The Denver Gazette that Steinke is on administrative leave with pay “until we can figure this thing out.”
Also charged in investigation was Platteville Police Sergeant Pablo Vazquez, who parked his cruiser on the tracks as he stopped the woman who was hit by the train. Vazquez faces five counts of reckless endangerment, one count of obstructing a highway, one count of careless driving and one county of parking were prohibited.
Rios-Gonzalez did, in fact, have a gun in her vehicle as was charged with felony menacing. However, she is being represented by a civil attorney. It’s unclear whether she will file a suit against the officers.