Weld County, CO — A 20-year-old woman is fighting for her life in the hospital and a Platteville police officer has been placed on leave after one of the most irresponsible law enforcement actions TFTP has ever reported on. The woman was locked in the back of a police cruiser, left on train tracks, and unable to escape the speeding train that was coming her way.
According to police, they received a call about an alleged road rage incident involving a firearm. The 20-year-old woman’s car allegedly fit the description from the caller and a high-risk traffic stop was conducted. The stop was high-risk because it took place in the middle of a railroad crossing.
Two Ft. Lupton officers reportedly stopped the woman just past the tracks as the Platteville officer pulled up behind her, leaving his cruiser parked directly on the tracks. As the officers detained the woman, they placed her in the back of the Platteville officer’s car — still parked on the train tracks.
Instead of moving the patrol car off the tracks, the officers instead began clearing the woman’s car first. As they were moving the woman’s car from the road, however, a train traveling northbound came barrelling down the tracks and plowed into the cruiser with the woman unable to escape.
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez was essentially locked in her own coffin and remained helpless as the train demolished the cruiser. Denver 7 reports Rios-Gonzalez was taken to the hospital where she remains with a “significant brain injury.”
Fortunately, no one on the train was injured, the train did not derail, and no bystanders were hurt.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado State Patrol and Fort Lupton police are now investigating and have released the following statement.
An officer with the Platteville Police Department (PPD) located the vehicle to make a traffic stop on US85 and County Rd. 38. The driver of the vehicle pulled to a stop just past the railroad tracks, with the patrol officer behind the car on the tracks. Two Ft. Lupton officers arrived on the scene and the team conducted a high-risk traffic stop and detained a lone female occupant (age 20, Greeley) placing her in the back of the Platteville patrol car detained on suspicion of felony menacing. While the officers cleared the suspect vehicle as part of the investigation, a train traveling northbound struck the PPD patrol car.
The female was transported to a Greeley hospital for treatment. Her condition is unknown at this time.
This investigation is being managed in a bifurcated manner due to the many elements of the incident. The Ft. Lupton Police Department is handling the criminal investigation of the incidents leading up to the initial call for police assistance. The Colorado State Patrol is investigating the serious-injury traffic accident that occurred between the train and the Platteville Police Department patrol vehicle. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has been requested to investigate the serious bodily injury to the individual while in police custody.