Officers charged in train crash into patrol car with suspect

Nov 7, 2022, 3:07 AM | Updated: 5:57 pm

DENVER (AP) — Two police officers involved in the arrest of a woman who was seriously injured when the parked patrol car she was in was hit by a freight train were charged Monday.

Prosecutors also announced that the woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who was arrested after a report of an alleged road rage incident involving a gun before the crash, was also charged with felony menacing.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges in a statement. It provided basic court documents listing the charges but said it would not provide further details because of “pending litigation.” The documents did not include a narrative about what the officers allegedly did leading up to the Sept. 16 crash, which was captured on police body camera footage.

Rios-Gonzalez’s lawyer, Paul Wilkinson, who has said he planned to file suit over the crash, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Of the two police officers, Fort Lupton Officer Jordan Steinke, faces the most serious charges — attempted manslaughter and second-degree assault — both felonies. No lawyers were listed as representing her in online court records yet and no contact information for her was listed on the department’s website.

Pablo Vazquez, a sergeant from the neighboring city of Platteville identified on body camera footage as the arresting officer, was charged with five counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly putting Rios-Gonzalez, Steinke and three other people at risk, as well as for traffic-related violations including parking where prohibited.

A telephone message and email sent to Vazquez at work were not immediately returned. Online court records did not list an attorney representing him yet either.

Following the crash, Vazquez told other officers on body camera footage that he thought he had cleared the tracks when he parked his patrol vehicle behind Rios-Gonzalez’s truck to arrest her. He said he was focused on her because he was concerned about weapons. He also said he did not know that the other officer he was working with from another department, who was not identified, had put Rios-Gonzalez in his patrol vehicle until after it was hit by the train. He said the “saving grace” was that the other officer put Rios-Gonzalez on the side of the vehicle not usually used for people who are arrested.

Other video from Vazquez’s body camera show him and another officer searching Rios-Gonzalez’s truck as the train approaches and its horn is blaring. Vazquez asks the other officer several times over the sound of the train’s rumbling whether Rios-Gonzalez was in the patrol vehicle and she responds, one hand to her face, “Oh my God, yes, she was!”

Other police video shows officers scrambling as the train approaches and slams into the vehicle.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Former U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks during an event sponsored ...
Associated Press

Haley signals 2024 openness despite pledge to back Trump

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Nikki Haley, U.N. ambassador under President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that she would take the Christmas holiday to mull a possible 2024 presidential bid, contradicting her statement last year that she wouldn’t enter the race if Trump opted to run again. “We are taking the holidays to kind of look at […]
21 hours ago
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, standing at rear, speaks during a censure motion a...
Associated Press

Australian Parliament censures former prime minister

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s former Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday listed his achievements in government including standing up to a “bullying” China as he unsuccessfully argued against being censured by the Parliament for secretly amassing multiple ministerial powers. The center-left Labor Party government introduced to the House of Representatives a rare censure motion […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Colombia asks for legal status for its people already in US

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia wants the Biden administration to grant temporary legal status to its citizens now living in the United States, noting its own efforts to address regional migration by hosting 2 million Venezuelans who fled their homes. Gustavo Petro, who was elected Colombia’s first leftist president in June, is committed to the […]
21 hours ago
FILE - A woman, center, leaves to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office at Ulsan Jungbu po...
Associated Press

Bodies-in-suitcases suspect appears in New Zealand court

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A woman who was extradited from South Korea this week after the bodies of her two children were found in abandoned suitcases made her first court appearance in New Zealand on Wednesday. The 42-year-old woman has been charged with two counts of murder. She was not required to enter a […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

MLB sells share of BAMTech to Walt Disney Co. for $900M

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has sold its remaining share of a streaming service technology company to the Walt Disney Co. for $900 million. The sale was disclosed Tuesday in Walt Disney Co.’s annual filing report through the SEC. MLB received the $900 million in exchange for the 15% stake it still had […]
21 hours ago
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, left, walks in front of a memorial set up outside Club Q in Colorado Spr...
Associated Press

Colorado governor visits shooting site as community heals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — In a crowded brewery, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis embraced Richard Fierro, the veteran hailed as a hero after tackling a shooter who killed five people and injured 17 others at the LGBTQ enclave Club Q last week. There was a festive atmosphere Tuesday at Atrevida Beer, owned by Fierro, where […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Officers charged in train crash into patrol car with suspect