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Two Colorado police officers were criminally charged Monday, nearly two months after a 20-year-old Greeley woman was seriously injured when she was struck by a freight train while detained in a police car parked on a railroad crossing.

Officer Jordan Steinke, from the Fort Lupton Police Department, is accused of attempted manslaughter and second-degree assault, both felonies, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office said. She also faces one count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, of the Platteville Police Department, faces five counts of reckless endangerment, one count of obstructing a highway or other passageway, one count of careless driving and one count of parking where prohibited, all misdemeanors, the DA’s office said. 

Steinke and Vazquez couldn’t be reached for comment and it’s unclear if the officers are being represented by attorneys. Neither police department immediately returned requests for comment. 

The charges stem from an incident in September when multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a report of road rage involving a firearm in Fort Lupton, roughly 30 miles northeast of Denver. A Platteville police officer stopped Yareni Rios-Gonzalez’s car just past railroad tracks and parked the patrol car on the crossing.

Rios-Gonzalez was placed in the back of the police car, which was struck by the train as officers searched her car. She suffered nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken sternum and several other injuries to her head and back, her lawyer said. 

YouTube video

In body camera footage obtained by 9News, Vazquez said he did not realize that he had parked his patrol car on the tracks. He also said he did not know that another officer had put Rios-Gonzalez in his car.

Rios-Gonzalez was also charged with felony menacing in the road rage case, the DA’s Office said Monday. Her attorney did not immediately return a voicemail seeking comment on the charge.

All three people were issued a summons and were not arrested, the DA’s office said. Steinke is set to be advised Dec. 13 in Weld County District Court, and Vazquez has an arraignment set for Jan. 17 in Weld County Court.  Rios-Gonzalez is scheduled to be advised Dec. 16 in the county district court. 

Olivia Prentzel covers breaking news and a wide range of other important issues impacting Coloradans for The Colorado Sun, where she has been a staff writer since 2021. At The Sun, she has covered wildfires, criminal justice, the environment,...