Cop who placed handcuffed woman into police car that was then hit by a train avoids jail time

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

An ex-cop has been sentenced after leaving a handcuffed woman in a police car while parked on train tracks - only for the vehicle to be hit by an oncoming train.

As reported by CNN, Jordan Steinke, a former police officer with the Fort Lupton Police Department in Colorado, was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and 100 hours of public service for his actions last September.

The decision was announced on Friday by her attorney, Mallory A. Revel, following Steinke's conviction on charges of reckless endangerment and third-degree assault.

The charges stem from a harrowing incident that occurred last year when Steinke placed a handcuffed 20-year-old woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, in a Platteville police car that was parked on train tracks. The vehicle was subsequently struck by a freight train, resulting in severe injuries for Rios-Gonzalez, including several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

The bodycam footage can be seen below (warning - the video may upset some viewers):

According to CNN, 19th Judicial District Judge Timothy Kerns found Steinke guilty of the misdemeanors but acquitted her of a felony charge of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter. "There's no reasonable doubt that placing a handcuffed person in the back of a patrol car parked on railroad tracks creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm by the train," Kerns stated while reading the verdict.

The incident took place in Weld County - near Highway 85 and County Road 38 - when former Platteville police officer Pablo Vazquez pulled over Rios-Gonzalez for allegedly waving a gun during a road rage incident. Steinke, along with another Fort Lupton officer, arrived on the scene to assist Vazquez.

It was Vazquez's patrol car that Steinke used to detain Rios-Gonzalez — a car that was dangerously parked on the tracks.

As officers were conducting a search of Rios-Gonzalez’s pickup truck, the unthinkable happened. A train struck the patrol car, while Rios-Gonzalez was still inside, screaming for help.

size-large wp-image-1263228786
Credit: Fort Lupton Police Department

Despite the life-changing injuries sustained by Rios-Gonzalez, who now suffers from amnesia, Steinke was acquitted of attempted manslaughter. Her defense claimed she was too focused on the suspect to notice the train tracks, even though body camera footage showed several crossing signs within feet of the parked vehicle.

Before the sentencing, Steinke spoke directly to Rios-Gonzalez, saying: "I understand, recognize and empathize that Ms. Rios-Gonzalez and her family have endured a great deal of physical, emotional, and psychological pain. As a police officer, I never intended for another human to come to harm under my watch.

"I feel very much responsible for what happened to you that night. What happened that night has haunted me for 364 days."

Steinke wasn't the only officer facing legal consequences. Vazquez is due in court this December, facing eight misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

The case shines a spotlight on the issue of police accountability and raises significant questions about the procedures and training police officers receive, especially in high-pressure situations. While the sentence brings a degree of closure, it has also sparked a broader debate about justice and the responsibilities of those who are sworn to protect and serve.

Featured image credit: Fort Lupton Police Department

Cop who placed handcuffed woman into police car that was then hit by a train avoids jail time

vt-author-image

By stefan armitage

Article saved!Article saved!

An ex-cop has been sentenced after leaving a handcuffed woman in a police car while parked on train tracks - only for the vehicle to be hit by an oncoming train.

As reported by CNN, Jordan Steinke, a former police officer with the Fort Lupton Police Department in Colorado, was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and 100 hours of public service for his actions last September.

The decision was announced on Friday by her attorney, Mallory A. Revel, following Steinke's conviction on charges of reckless endangerment and third-degree assault.

The charges stem from a harrowing incident that occurred last year when Steinke placed a handcuffed 20-year-old woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, in a Platteville police car that was parked on train tracks. The vehicle was subsequently struck by a freight train, resulting in severe injuries for Rios-Gonzalez, including several broken bones and a traumatic brain injury.

The bodycam footage can be seen below (warning - the video may upset some viewers):

According to CNN, 19th Judicial District Judge Timothy Kerns found Steinke guilty of the misdemeanors but acquitted her of a felony charge of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter. "There's no reasonable doubt that placing a handcuffed person in the back of a patrol car parked on railroad tracks creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm by the train," Kerns stated while reading the verdict.

The incident took place in Weld County - near Highway 85 and County Road 38 - when former Platteville police officer Pablo Vazquez pulled over Rios-Gonzalez for allegedly waving a gun during a road rage incident. Steinke, along with another Fort Lupton officer, arrived on the scene to assist Vazquez.

It was Vazquez's patrol car that Steinke used to detain Rios-Gonzalez — a car that was dangerously parked on the tracks.

As officers were conducting a search of Rios-Gonzalez’s pickup truck, the unthinkable happened. A train struck the patrol car, while Rios-Gonzalez was still inside, screaming for help.

size-large wp-image-1263228786
Credit: Fort Lupton Police Department

Despite the life-changing injuries sustained by Rios-Gonzalez, who now suffers from amnesia, Steinke was acquitted of attempted manslaughter. Her defense claimed she was too focused on the suspect to notice the train tracks, even though body camera footage showed several crossing signs within feet of the parked vehicle.

Before the sentencing, Steinke spoke directly to Rios-Gonzalez, saying: "I understand, recognize and empathize that Ms. Rios-Gonzalez and her family have endured a great deal of physical, emotional, and psychological pain. As a police officer, I never intended for another human to come to harm under my watch.

"I feel very much responsible for what happened to you that night. What happened that night has haunted me for 364 days."

Steinke wasn't the only officer facing legal consequences. Vazquez is due in court this December, facing eight misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

The case shines a spotlight on the issue of police accountability and raises significant questions about the procedures and training police officers receive, especially in high-pressure situations. While the sentence brings a degree of closure, it has also sparked a broader debate about justice and the responsibilities of those who are sworn to protect and serve.

Featured image credit: Fort Lupton Police Department