Two Weld County officers charged after train hit police car with woman inside

Police body camera video from Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, shows police illegally parked on train tracks in Weld County.
Fort Lupton Police via 9News
Police video from Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, shows a train as it’s about to hit a police car illegally parked on tracks in Weld County.

Two officers in Weld County have been charged with several felony and misdemeanor counts after a woman was injured in September when officers left her in a squad car that was parked on tracks and hit by a train.

The Weld County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Officer Jordan Steinke from the Fort Lupton Police Department has been charged with one felony count of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter; one felony count of second degree assault; and one misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment. 

Sgt. Pablo Vazquez of the Platteville Police Department faces five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment; one count of obstructing highway or other passageway; one count of careless driving; and one count of parking where prohibited.

The Fort Lupton Police Department previously released body camera footage from the night of Sept. 16 that showed a train barreling into a Platteville police car with 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez inside.

According to police, Vazquez pulled Rios-Gonzalez over in Weld County, near Highway 85 and County Road 38, after an alleged road rage incident involving a gun. 

Two Fort Lupton police officers later arrived at the scene and placed her in the back of the Platteville officer’s car, which was illegally parked on railroad tracks. While the three officers were searching Rios-Gonzalez’s pickup truck, a train blowing its horn hit the patrol car while she was inside. 

Police said Rios-Gonzalez suffered “serious bodily injuries,” including nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken leg, a fractured sternum and head injuries. Rios-Gonzalez plans to file a lawsuit against the two Weld County police departments after she watched and screamed as a train struck the vehicle she was in. 

Rios-Gonzalez’s lawyer said she spent more than a week in the hospital and faces a long recovery.

The Weld County DA’s office said Rios-Gonzalez also faces one felony count of menacing. The two officers and Rios-Gonzalez were issued a summons and were not arrested. 

Court dates have not been set yet.