A woman in Colorado hit by a freight train while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car last week is expected to recover from her injuries, but recently-released video of the crash makes her survival seem downright miraculous.
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez was pulled over by Colorado’s Platteville Police Department officers on the evening of September 16 over suspicions she was involved in a road rage incident with a gun. Rios-Gonzalez was pulled over just beyond the train tracks, while the Platteville police parked, for some reason that is baffling to conceive, directly on the grade train crossing.
Two officers with the Fort Lupton Police Department in Colorado then arrived at the scene and made no comment on the placement of the Platteville officer’s vehicle. They assisted in handcuffing Rios-Gonzalez and placing her in the SUV before searching her truck.
The Denver Post filed a FOIA request with the departments and ended up getting multiple angles of what exactly happened that night.
(Caution: Some readers may find this footage disturbing)
It took two other officers, who had been searching the woman’s pickup truck for weapons, at least 15 seconds to react to the train barreling toward the police cruiser while blasting its horn, warning of a coming collision, according to Fort Lupton Police Department video footage released Friday
The footage, which includes body camera video and a patrol vehicle’s dashcam video, was obtained by The Denver Post through an open records request.
The Platteville officer and one Fort Lupton officer then searched the pickup truck for other people. Once they finished, the Platteville officer and a second Fort Lupton officer began searching for weapons. The other Fort Lupton officer, who can be seen in the video holding a rifle, returned to the area near the patrol car where Rios-Gonzalez was in custody.
As the officers searching the truck discussed whether or not Rios-Gonzalez might have tossed a gun out a window before she pulled over, a train’s horn can be heard in the distance. But it took the two officers at least 15 seconds to notice it, the video footage shows.
One officer screamed an expletive as they realize a Union Pacific train is coming toward the parked patrol vehicle. The other yelled for his colleague to “stay back,” the footage shows.
The other Fort Lupton officer, who was standing near the Platteville patrol vehicle with Rios-Gonazlez inside, turned back and forth a couple of times as the train approached, police camera footage shows. He ultimately turned and ran for cover behind a Fort Lupton police car.
The footage shows the train slam into the Platteville police vehicle — its front passenger-side door still open — and push it several yards. The officers immediately called for help, saying a patrol car had been struck by a train.
By far the most disgusting, gut-wrenching part of the video is the officer standing guard over a bound woman with a rifle who then runs for his own life due to officers’ bad choices.
Rios-Gonzalez is still hospitalized after suffering brain injuries and broken bones in the crash. She has retained a lawyer and, honestly, good for her. Police are still investigating the road rage incident, but no charges have been filed. The Colorado State Patrol is investigating the crash and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is investigating how Rios-Gonzalez received her injuries while in police custody.