Assault charge dropped against officer who put 20-year-old in patrol car hit by train

Weld County prosecutors have dismissed an assault charge against a Fort Lupton police officer who placed a woman in a patrol car that was later struck by a train.

Jordan Steinke still faces one felony count of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter and a misdemeanor count of reckless endangerment. The original second-degree assault charge was also a felony.

“Upon further review, we have decided to move forward with existing charges that we feel are most appropriate in this case,” Weld County DA spokesperson Krista Henery wrote in an emailed statement. “Because of pending litigation, I cannot comment further about how and why we had to make this decision.”

Former Platteville police officer Pablo Vazquez pulled over Yareni Rios-Gonzalez for an alleged road rage incident involving a gun in Weld County, near Highway 85 and County road 38 on Sept. 16.

Steinke and another Fort Lupton officer arrived and placed the 20 year-old in the back of a patrol car that was illegally parked on nearby railroad tracks. During a search of Rios-Gonzalez’s pickup truck, a train hit the patrol car while she was inside. 

Attorneys for Rios-Gonzalez said she suffered serious bodily injuries from the incident. She has filed a lawsuit against both Fort Lupton and Platteville police departments.

Vasquez faces five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, one count of obstruction of a highway or passageway, one count of careless driving, and one count of parking where prohibited. The second Fort Lupton officer involved has not been charged.

Steinke is due in court March 2. Rios-Gonzalez still faces a menacing charge related to the incident.