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Weld County prosecutors consider case in Platteville police vehicle crash involving train

Platteville train-car crash Sept 16 2022
Posted at 8:28 AM, Oct 26, 2022

DENVER — The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has completed its investigation into a train crash that injured a suspect who was handcuffed in the back of a Platteville police car parked on train tracks last month.

CBI confirmed on Tuesday that investigators have presented their case to the Weld County District Attorney’s Office for consideration on possible charges. A timeframe on when charges, if any, will be filed was not released.

The crash happened Sept. 16just before 8 p.m. in the area of Highway 85 and Weld County Road 36. Authorities said the initial call was reported as an alleged road rage incident involving a firearm in Ft. Lupton earlier in the evening.

According to the CBI, a Platteville officer located the vehicle to make a traffic stop on US 85 and County Rd. 38. The driver of the vehicle, 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, of Greeley, pulled to a stop just past the railroad tracks, with the patrol officer behind the car on the tracks.

With the assistance of two Ft. Lupton officers, police conducted a high-risk traffic stop and detained the lone Rios-Gonzalez and placed her in the back of the patrol car parked on the tracks.

While the officers cleared the suspect vehicle as part of the investigation, a train traveling northbound struck the Platteville patrol car, according to a CBI release.

After the crash, Rios-Gonzalez was taken to a Greeley hospital with serious bodily injuries, according to the CBI. She is out of the hospital and is slowly recuperating after undergoing surgery for a broken arm, and sustaining injuries to nine ribs, her sternum, teeth, leg, back and head.

The Fort Lupton Police Department released an edited eight-minute video of several officers’ and deputies’ body cameras who responded to the initial call and after the woman was hit by a train while handcuffed inside the police cruiser.

Video shows train hit Platteville police cruiser while suspect was inside

The Platteville police officer claims in the body camera video that he was unaware there was a handcuffed woman in the backseat of his patrol cruiser when the incoming train collided with his vehicle.

Another video obtained by Denver7 shows officers flagging the freight train operator, who tells the officer the train was going 46 miles an hour with 11,000 tons of cargo at the time the train collided with the patrol car.

Attorneys for Rios-Gonzalez said their client plans to sue the Platteville and Fort Lupton police departments for several claims, including negligence and civil rights violations.