Colorado officers criminally charged after train struck patrol car with detained woman inside

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, suffered multiple broken bones in the horrific Sept. 16 caught-on-video accident

A pair of Colorado police officers were charged this week after a 20-year-old woman detained in a parked patrol car was hit by a freight train and seriously injured in a dramatic caught-on-video collision.

On Monday, the Weld District Attorney's Office filed charges against Officer Jordan Steinke and Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, who were issued summonses for the crash that Rios-Gonzalez narrowly survived, court papers show.

Several law enforcement agencies responded Sept. 16 to reports of a road rage incident involving a firearm in Fort Lupton – about 30 miles northeast of Denver.  

Rios-Gonzalez was pulled over, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car that was parked on a set of railroad tracks before it was struck and crumpled by the train. 

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Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was seriously injured after she was detained in the back of a police cruiser that was struck by train Sept. 16 in Greeley, Colorado.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was seriously injured after she was detained in the back of a police cruiser that was struck by train Sept. 16 in Greeley, Colorado. (Facebook/Platteville Police Department)

Steinke, of the Fort Lupton Police Department, was hit with one count each of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment. 

Vazquez, of the Platteville Police Department, is charged with five counts of reckless endangerment, and one count each of obstructing a passageway, careless driving and parking where prohibited.

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Previously released footage from Vazquez’s body camera shows him and another officer search Rios-Gonzalez’s truck, as the train, with its horns blaring, rapidly approaches and smashes into the cruiser. 

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez was seriously injured when she was detained in a police cruiser in Colorado that was parked on a railroad truck and train struck her.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez was seriously injured when she was detained in a police cruiser in Colorado that was parked on a railroad truck and train struck her. (Facebook)

After the impact, Vazquez asks the other officer if Rios-Gonzalez was in the patrol car. She responds, one hand to her face, "Oh, my God, yes, she was!" 

Additional footage shows officers rushing toward the mangled car after the collision and calling for an ambulance.

Vazquez tells the other officer that he thought he had cleared the tracks when he pulled up behind Rios-Gonzalez's truck at about 7:30 p.m. near the  intersection of US 85 and County Road 36 - but he had actually parked squarely in the path of the train, according to the footage.

A screenshot of police body camera footage show the moment before a freight train collided with a police car parked on the tracks with Yareni Rios-Gonzalez detained in the backseat.

A screenshot of police body camera footage show the moment before a freight train collided with a police car parked on the tracks with Yareni Rios-Gonzalez detained in the backseat. (Platteville Police Department)

Prosecutors also announced that Rios-Gonzalez was hit with one count of felony menacing for allegedly pulling a gun on another driver, identified as Colten Breckenfelder, who had called 911 on her.

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"I am headed towards Greeley on Highway 85. This lady was completely riding my a-- and then she pulled a gun on me," he told the dispatcher.

Rios-Gonzalez's attorney did not return a request for comment. 

Police body camera footage shows Yareni Rios-Gonzalez's arrest before she was placed in a patrol car that was hit by a freight train in Colorado. 

Police body camera footage shows Yareni Rios-Gonzalez's arrest before she was placed in a patrol car that was hit by a freight train in Colorado.  (Platteville Police Department)

Rios-Gonzalez, a married mother to a 2-year-old girl, was hospitalized for weeks after the crash. She suffered nine broken ribs, a broken arm, broken leg and fractured sternum, her lawyer told a local news station.

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A GoFundMe account set up by her mother says she can't dress, feed or bathe herself due to her injuries. Her lawyer said she plans to file a lawsuit against the police department.