A pair of Colorado police officers were charged this week after a 20-year-old woman stopped in a parked patrol car was struck by a freight train and seriously injured in a dramatic collision caught on video.
On Monday, the Weld District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Officer Jordan Steinke and Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, who was issued citations for the crash in which Rios-Gonzalez narrowly survived, court documents show.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded Sept. 16 to reports of a road rage incident involving a firearm at Fort Lupton, about 30 miles northeast of Denver.
Ríos-González was detained, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car that was parked on a stretch of train tracks before the train struck and crushed him.
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Steinke, of the Fort Lupton Police Department, was charged with criminal attempt to commit involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Vazquez, of the Platteville Police Department, is charged with five counts of reckless endangerment and one count of obstructing an aisle, careless driving and parking where prohibited.
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Previously released body camera footage of Vázquez shows him and another officer searching Ríos-González’s truck, as the train, with its horns blasting, rapidly approaches and crashes into the patrol car.
After the impact, Vázquez asks the other officer if Ríos-González was in the squad car. She replies, with a hand to her face, “Oh my God, yes it was!”
Additional footage shows officers running to the wrecked car after the collision and calling an ambulance.
Vazquez tells the other officer that he thought he had cleared the tracks when he pulled up behind Rios-Gonzalez’s truck around 7:30 p.m. train, according to the images.
Prosecutors also announced that Rios-Gonzalez was charged with one count of felony menacing for allegedly pointing a gun at another driver, identified as Colten Breckenfelder, who had called 911 for her.
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“I’m headed toward Greeley on Highway 85. This lady was completely rimming my ass and then she pulled a gun on me,” he told the dispatcher.
Ríos-González’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Ríos-González, a married mother of a 2-year-old girl, was hospitalized for weeks after the accident. She suffered nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken leg and a fractured sternum, her attorney told a local news station.
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A GoFundMe account set up by her mother says she is unable to dress, feed or bathe herself due to her injuries. Her attorney said she plans to file a lawsuit against the police department.