DENVER – A police officer who placed a woman in a parked patrol car just before it was hit by a train in Platteville, Colorado, has been found guilty of reckless endangerment and third-degree assault.
Jordan Steinke, of the Fort Lupton Police Department, was acquitted of the last charge of manslaughter, according to The Associated Press. Steinke was one of two officers who went to trial over a crash that left Yareni Rios-Gonzalez seriously injured on Sept. 16, 2022.
The patrol car was parked by the intersection of U.S. 85 and County Road 36, KMGH reported.
Rios-Gonzalez suffered a traumatic brain injury and according to The Denver Post, she is suing over the treatment.
Rios-Gonzalez was arrested because another driver had reported that she allegedly pointed a gun at him during an alleged road rage incident, according to the newspaper. One of her lawyers, Chris Ponce, said that she pleaded no contest to misdemeanor menacing.
The other officer, Pablo Vazquez of the Platteville Police Department, had parked the cruiser on the train tracks.
Steinke reportedly testified that she did not know that the other officer’s patrol car was on the train tracks, which contradicted her body camera footage that showed two railroad crossing signs, the AP reported. She said she was focused “on the threat,” which was Rios-Gonzalez and her truck.
Steinke said that she placed Rios-Gonzalez in the patrol car temporarily because she believed it would keep her secure, which defense expert Steve Ijames testified is standard practice for high-risk traffic stops, the Post reported.
Steinke said she did not know the train was coming until before it hit, the AP reported.
“I never in a million years thought a train was going to come plowing through my scene,” Steinke said, according tothe newspaper.
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