Two Colorado police officers were charged this week after a 20-year-old woman who was being held in a parked squad car was hit by a freight train and seriously injured in a dramatic collision that was caught on video.
On Monday, prosecutors filed Weld charges against Officer Jordan Steinke and Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, who was subpoenaed in the crash that Rios-Gonzalez narrowly survived, court filings show.
Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to reports of a road traffic incident involving a firearm in Fort Lupton — about 30 miles northeast of Denver — on Sept. 16.
Rios-Gonzalez was pulled over, handcuffed and placed in a squad car parked on a row of railroad tracks before being hit and crushed by the train.
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Steinke of the Fort Lupton Police Department was hit with one count each of attempted manslaughter, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.
Vazquez of the Platteville Police Department is charged with five counts of reckless endangerment and one each of obstructing a passageway, careless driving and parking where prohibited.
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Previously released footage from Vazquez’s body camera shows him and another officer searching the Rios-Gonzalez truck as the train, honking its horns, rapidly approaches and crashes into the squad car.
After the impact, Vazquez asks the other officer if Rios-Gonzalez was in the squad car. She replies with a hand in front of her face: “Oh my god, yes she did!”
Additional footage shows officers rushing towards the mangled car after the collision and calling an ambulance.
Vazquez tells the other officer that when he pulled up behind Rios-Gonzalez’s truck near the intersection of US 85 and County Road 36 at around 7:30 p.m., he thought he’d cleared the tracks—but he was actually right on the track Path of the parked train, according to footage.
Prosecutors also announced that Rios-Gonzalez was hit with a felony threat for allegedly drawing a gun on another driver, identified as Colten Breckenfelder, who called her 911.
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“I’m driving on Highway 85 toward Greeley. This lady gave me a complete drive — and then she pointed a gun at me,” he told the dispatcher.
Rios-Gonzalez’s attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Rios-Gonzalez, 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 broken sternum, her lawyer told a local news station.
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A GoFundMe account set up by her mother says she cannot dress, eat or bathe herself because of her injuries. Her attorney said she plans to file a lawsuit against the police.