A police officer in Colorado is on paid administrative leave after he parked his patrol car on a set of train tracks, leaving a young woman in the back to be struck by a freight train.
Updated Monday, September 28, 2022 11:05 a.m. EST - Video footage of the crash obtained by the Denver Post.
The incident occurred last Friday around 7:30 p.m. in the small town of Platteville, Colorado, on Highway 85 and Weld County Road 36 about an hour outside of Denver, according to Denver7.
Police responded to reports of a road rage driver tailgating and flashing a gun in traffic. A Platteville officer pulled over 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez as a suspect. While Rios-Gonzalez stopped just beyond the train tracks, police stopped directly on an unguarded grade train crossing. The crossing is marked by a single railroad warning sign and a stop sign, but no other lights or swing arm are at the crossing (a common set up in rural areas):
The Platteville officer was joined by two officers from nearby Fort Lupton, who assisted in the search of the young woman’s vehicle. Officers placed Rios-Gonzalez in the back of the squad car before returning to her vehicle for the search, according to the Sacramento Bee. While looking through her vehicle, a northbound freight train ran full speed through the intersection.
The patrol car was flatten in the crash. Incredibly, Rios-Gonzalez is expected to survived the ordeal, but has been left with significant injuries, including to her brain.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are now involved in the investigation of the incident, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said in a statement:
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.