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Colorado police sergeant who parked car on train tracks, injuring handcuffed woman, pleads guilty

Former sergeant who parked on tracks, injuring woman, pleads guilty
Former sergeant who parked on tracks, injuring woman, pleads guilty 00:31

A former Colorado police sergeant pleaded guilty to one count of reckless endangerment in a case related to him parking his car on railroad tracks before a collision with a train. Another officer put a handcuffed woman named Yareni Rios-Gonzalez inside. She was seriously injured when a train struck the car.

Former Platteville Police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez entered the plea deal Tuesday, agreeing to 12 months of an unsupervised deferred judgment and sentence. While Vazquez was fired by the Platteville Police Department earlier this year, his pleading to a second-degree misdemeanor means he can keep his Colorado law enforcement certification and would be eligible to become a police officer in Colorado again.

But before that September 2022 incident in Platteville, Vazquez was called "incompetent"  by fellow officers at a previous police job and recommended for a demotion. But that doesn't appear to have happened.

Former Platteville Police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez appears in Weld County Court in a January file photo. CBS

Former Fort Lupton Officer Jordan Steinke, who placed Rios-Gonzalez in the car, was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and 100 hours of public service.

Rios-Gonzalez suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as numerous broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken back in the crash and is suing the two former officers and the departments they worked at in civil court. That case is still ongoing.

Her attorney, Christopher Ponce, called Vazquez's sentence "disappointing," adding that Rios wished there was more of a permanent conviction, the Associated Press reported.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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