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2 Colorado towns agree to $8.5M settlement with woman who was handcuffed in police car when it was hit by train

Woman who was in Colorado police car that was struck by train will get $8.5M
Woman who was in Colorado police car that was struck by train will get $8.5M 00:30

Two Colorado municipalities have reached a settlement with a woman who was seriously injured two years ago when the police patrol car she was in was struck by a freight train. Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who was handcuffed and sitting in the back of the car while it was parked on some tracks in Weld County, will receive $8.5 million. The money will come from the city of Fort Lupton and the town of Platteville.

Platteville Police

A police officer from each of those towns wound up facing charges as a result of the incident. One was fired.

The collision happened on Sept. 16, 2022. Rios-Gonzalez was 20 at the time. She driving in a car that night when police officers pulled her over in front of a railroad crossing near Platteville. That was after a report had come in that she had threatened someone with a gun in a road rage incident.

After the officers pulled her over she was handcuffed and placed in the police car of Sgt. Pablo Vazquez from the Platteville Police Department. Jordan Steinke of the Fort Lupton Police Department put her in Vazquez's cruiser, which was parked right above the railroad tracks. Body cam and dashcam video from police showed what happened next:

- Officers searched Rios-Gonzalez's car while she was in the police cruiser.
- A train horn sounded as a train approached the intersection.
- The train violently struck Vazquez's car while Rios-Gonzalez was still inside and dragged it until it stopped.

Rios-Gonzalez was rushed to the hospital and treated for serious injuries, including broken bones.

Vazquez and Steinke were charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts. Vazquez was fired by his department and wound up agreeing to a plea deal in which he avoided jail time. Steinke agreed to a sentence that also didn't include any jail time.

CNN reported that the settlement will be split equally between Fort Lupton and Platteville.

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