DA drops felony charge against officer in train crash case

Feb 24, 2023, 8:48 PM | Updated: Feb 25, 2023, 10:58 am

DENVER (AP) — Prosecutors have dismissed the most serious charge against a Colorado police officer who locked a handcuffed woman in a parked police car that was hit by a freight train, leaving her with serious injuries.

The Weld County District Attorney’s office dismissed the second-degree felony assault charge against Officer Jordan Steinke on Thursday, according to court documents. Steinke and another officer still face less serious charges in connection with the Sept. 16, 2022 incident.

The collision occurred after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a report of a road rage incident in Fort Lupton, Colorado. A Platteville police officer stopped Yareni Rios’ car just past a set of railroad tracks and parked the patrol vehicle on the crossing. Another officer handcuffed Rios and placed her in the back of the police vehicle, which was hit by the train as officers were searching her car.

The 21-year-old Rios survived with serious injuries, and later filed a lawsuit accusing three officers of asking recklessly and failing in their duty to take care of her while she was in their custody. In the lawsuit, Rios alleges the train tracks were “plainly visible” to Steinke as she put Rios in the back seat of the patrol car belonging to Platteville Sgt. Pablo Vazquez.

Court records do not reveal why prosecutors dropped the assault charge against Steinke. Krista Henery, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, said she could not comment because of pending litigation.

Steinke still faces other less serious charges in connection with the incident, including felony attempted reckless manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Steinke was placed on administrative leave after the collision and remains on leave, according to the police department.

Steinke’s attorney, Mallory Revel, said in a statement Friday that dismissing the assault charge was the “right thing” for the district attorney’s office to do, and contended the remaining charges should also be dismissed.

Vazquez is charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and is scheduled for a pretrial conference in March. Vazquez was fired from the police department in December, Platteville police Chief Carl Dwyer said Friday. A phone number for Vazquez could not be found.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
17 hours ago
Evelyn Knapp, a supporter of former President Donald, waves to passersby outside of Trump's Mar-a-L...
Associated Press

Trump legal woes force another moment of choosing for GOP

From the moment he rode down the Trump Tower escalator to announce his first presidential campaign, a searing question has hung over the Republican Party: Is this the moment to break from Donald Trump?
2 days ago
FILE - The Silicon Valley Bank logo is seen at an open branch in Pasadena, Calif., on March 13, 202...
Associated Press

Army of lobbyists helped water down banking regulations

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Red-state Democrats facing grim reelection prospects would join forces with Republicans to slash bank regulations — demonstrating a willingness to work with President Donald Trump while bucking many in their party.
2 days ago
FILE - This Sept. 2015, photo provided by NOAA Fisheries shows an aerial view of adult female South...
Associated Press

Researchers: Inbreeding a big problem for endangered orcas

People have taken many steps in recent decades to help the Pacific Northwest's endangered killer whales, which have long suffered from starvation, pollution and the legacy of having many of their number captured for display in marine parks.
3 days ago
FILE - Hiring signs are displayed at a grocery store in Arlington Heights, Ill., Jan. 13, 2023. Emp...
Associated Press

Pay transparency is spreading. Here’s what you need to know

U.S. employers are increasingly posting salary ranges for job openings, even in states where it’s not required by law, according to analysts with several major job search websites.
3 days ago
Meadowdale High School 9th grade students Juanangel Avila, right, and Legacy Marshall, left, work t...
David Klepper and Manuel Valdes, Associated Press

Seattle high school teacher advocates for better digital literacy in schools

Shawn Lee, a high school social studies teacher in Seattle, wants to see lessons on internet akin to a kind of 21st century driver's education, an essential for modern life.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

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.
DA drops felony charge against officer in train crash case