NewsCovering Colorado


Colo. officer who put woman in patrol car hit by train guilty on 2 counts; not guilty of felony

Officer Jordan Steinke found guilty of reckless endangerment and third-degree assault
platteville train crash_the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm
Posted at 8:22 PM, Jul 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-28 22:22:21-04

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The Fort Lupton police officer who put a woman in a parked police car before it was hit by a train in Platteville, Colorado was found guilty of two misdemeanors: reckless endangerment, a Class 2 misdemeanor, and third-degree assault. Jordan Steinke was found not guilty on criminal attempt to commit manslaughter, a Class 5 felony.

Sentencing has been scheduled for September 15, 2023.

In February, the Weld County District Attorney's office dismissed a separate second-degree felony assault charge against Steinke.

The remaining charges considered during trial stem from the Sept. 16, 2022 arrest of Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, of Greeley.

Steinke put Gonzalez into handcuffs, then shut the door on her in the back of a patrol vehicle that was parked near the intersection of U.S. Highway 85 and Weld County Road 36, moments before it was struck by an oncoming train.

The officers failed to move the SUV or help Rios-Gonzalez, train horn blaring as Rios-Gonzalez screamed for help.

She suffered extensive injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, from the crash.

Woman in Colorado patrol car hit by train: Officer guilty on two counts, not guilty on felony charge

In January, Gonzalez filed a lawsuit against a Platteville sergeant and two Fort Lupton officers — as well as both police departments for their role in the crash and her resulting injuries.

Steinke said during trial that she remembered seeing the tracks but did not process them. Judge Timothy Kerns used this testimony as a basis for finding her guilty of the two misdemeanor charges.

Kerns referenced Steinke's three and a half years on the job as a trained law enforcement officer in Weld County, her knowledge of the terrain she gained from her daily commute over U.S. Highway 85, the train tracks being visible from east of the road, and signs in the intersection warning of the train tracks, as his reasoning for the two guilty verdicts.

The judge said Steinke acknowledged the risk to Gonzalez and then consciously disregarded it.

Steinke countered she was focused on the suspect and the potential threat she posed.

And Steinke's lawyer argued during trial that the tracks were completely flush with the road, not anything to trip over, and there were no illuminated crossing signs or gates in the dark, rural area.

platteville train crash_The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm

Local News

Colorado woman hit by train while trapped in patrol car files lawsuit

Stephanie Butzer
3:53 PM, Jan 27, 2023

Police were initially pursuing Gonzalez in connection to a call in Fort Lupton reporting an alleged road rage incident involving a firearm.

Platteville train-car crash Sept 16 2022

Weld County

Woman hit by train after being locked in car pleads no contest to misdemeanor

1:27 PM, Jul 03, 2023

She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge in early July after prosecutors dropped a felony charge against her.

Gonzalez will avoid jail time if she follows the conditions of her deferred sentence and completes 10 hours of community service, according to court records.

According to Gonzalez's lawsuit, there is a blue ENS sign at the railroad crossing that has a phone number to call if there is police activity on the railroad tracks. The officers did not call, it continues.

train-car crash platteville police sept 16 2022

Local News

Charge dropped against officer in case of woman in police unit struck by train

Jeff Anastasio
1:03 PM, Feb 24, 2023

The Associated Press contributed to this report.