Former Platteville officer accused of parking patrol car hit by train on railroad tracks pleads guilty

· Dec. 5, 2023, 7:12 pm
Police body camera video from Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, shows police illegally parked on train tracks in Weld County.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.

A former Platteville police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of reckless endangerment for parking his patrol car on railroad tracks before a handcuffed woman was put inside and seriously injured when it was hit by a freight train.

Pablo Vazquez had been charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment in connection with the crash that injured Yareni Rios last year but reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

A judge sentenced Vazquez to 12 months of unsupervised probation. If he stays out of trouble during that time, the misdemeanor charge will be dismissed and the case will be sealed, KUSA-TV reported.

Another former officer who put the woman in the patrol car after a traffic stop, Jordan Steinke, was found guilty of reckless endangerment and assault for the crash near Fort Lupton. A judge acquitted her of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter after a bench trial in July.

Steinke was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service after both prosecutors and defense attorneys asked for her not to be sent to jail.

Rios suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as numerous broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken back in the crash and is suing police.

Her attorney, Christopher Ponce, called Vazquez's sentence “disappointing”, adding that Rios wished there was more of a permanent conviction.