Daily Camera (Boulder)
DA drops most serious of charges against police officer
Woman was locked in a cruiser before it was struck by a train
Prosecutors dismissed the most serious charge against a Fort Lupton police officer who locked a handcuffed woman in a patrol vehicle that was parked on train tracks and then failed to move the SUV as a train barreled down the tracks and struck it.
Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke dismissed the felony second-degree assault charge against Officer Jordan Steinke on Thursday, court records show.
The officer is still facing the less serious charges of attempted reckless manslaughter, which is a lowlevel felony charge, and reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.
Steinke and Platteville police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez were both charged after the Sept. 16 incident on railroad tracks near U.S. 85 and Weld County Road 38.
The woman who was locked in the vehicle and hit by the train, 21-year-old Yareni Rios-gonzalez, survived the crash and is suing the Platteville Police Department. She was taken into custody that night after a report of road rage, and was later charged with felony menacing in connection with those allegations.
That case is pending, and Rios-gonzalez is due back in court for a disposition hearing on May 25.
She suffered head injuries, broken ribs, a broken arm and a broken sternum when the train crashed into the police vehicle. She spent 12 days in a hospital recovering from her injuries. Steinke was placed on administrative leave after the crash and remains on leave, Fort Lupton police Lt. William Karnes confirmed Friday. The officer is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment on March 2.