Woman Arrested and Handcuffed in Police Car; Later Hit by Freight Train in Colorado; $8.5M Settlement Reached after Suing Cops Involved

Young Cop Shot Dead at House Party in Arizona after Disturbance Call; Dad also Lost Life on Duty 18 Years Ago

A woman from Colorado was badly hurt when a freight train hit the parked police car where she was sitting handcuffed. On Wednesday, a lawyer for two of the officers involved said that the two sides had reached a settlement of $8.5 million.

Attorney Eric Ziporin said that the three cops who were sued in the 2022 crash worked for both the city of Fort Lupton and the nearby town of Platteville. Each will pay half of the settlement to Yareni Rios.

Ziporin is the lawyer for Jordan Steinke and Ryan Thomeczek, two officers who worked at Fort Lupton at the time. He refused to say anything else about the deal. William Carnes, the chief of police in Fort Lupton, said in a statement on Tuesday that the deal “satisfies both sides, acknowledges the seriousness of the situation, and lets everyone move on.”

Sgt. Pablo Vazquez, who used to work for the Platteville police, was also sued. The Associated Press asked his lawyers for a comment Wednesday through email.

Steinke and Vazquez were both given probation for their roles in the crash, but Thomeczek was not charged.

Vazquez pulled Rios over on September 16, 2022, after a car accident where cops said Rios was “threatening with a handgun.” Rios was 20 years old at the time. Steinke and then Thomeczek showed up soon after to help. Steinke put Rios in the back of Vazquez’s police car. Both the lawsuit and the evidence in Steinke’s trial last year say that Vazquez parked on railroad tracks.

The tracks and train crossing signs can be seen on Steinke’s body camera footage, but she said she didn’t know where the car was parked. She was hit with a two-year probation term and fired from her job after being found guilty of reckless endangerment and assault.

Vazquez told other officers on body camera video that he thought he was clear of the tracks when he parked behind Rios. He told her that he was paying close attention to her because he thought she might have a weapon.

Vazquez admitted to putting someone in danger without thinking about it and was given a year of probation without being watched.

Rios screamed for help when she saw the train coming. Even though a police car door was left open, she was unable to escape from the suffocating back seat, according to the lawsuit, which said she was seriously hurt, including having major head trauma. The lawsuit said that the cops were careless and didn’t protect Rios while they had her.

Rios pleaded not guilty to a minor charge of menacing.

Young Cop Shot Dead at House Party in Arizona after Disturbance Call; Dad also Lost Life on Duty 18 Years Ago

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