WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — FOX31 obtained body camera video Friday morning showing a Platteville Police Department vehicle parked on railroad tracks before a train crashed into it while a woman was detained in the backseat.
About five minutes and 25 seconds into the video, you can hear the train horns blasting. A few seconds later, you can hear an officer shouting at another officer, “move your car, stay back!”
In the video, an officer is observed standing on the tracks, looking in the direction of the train. The officer then walks off the tracks and the train crashes into the patrol vehicle.
The woman hurt in the crash was identified on Monday as 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, of Greeley, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Paul Wilkinson, attorney for Rios-Gonzalez said she was handcuffed in the back of the patrol car and tried to get out when she heard the train coming but the doors were locked.
Wilkinson told FOX31’s Vicente Arenas that Rios-Gonzalez was seriously hurt but is expected to survive. She has nine broken ribs, a broken arm and a fractured sternum just to name a few of those injuries. Despite all her injuries, she is making progress.
“She is conscious and able to hold a conversation. She has been able to get up once and sit back down again,” Wilkinson said.
The officer stopped Rios-Gonzalez just past the railroad tracks on U.S. 85 and County Road 38. The officer parked the police car on the train tracks.
Investigators said the officer stopped Rios-Gonzalez in connection to a road rage incident on Sept. 16 in Fort Lupton. The incident allegedly involved a gun.
When another two officers from Fort Lupton arrived, they detained Rios-Gonzalez on suspicion of felony menacing and put her in the back of the police car.
The police officer whose patrol car was hit by a train has been placed on leave pending an investigation.
“The biggest question is why would you park on train tracks. it’s just negligence, gross negligence and recklessness,” Wilkinson said.
Our law enforcement procedural expert James Allbee told FOX31 that officers are told to stop cars where it’s safe.
“Obviously not stopping on train tracks is problematic especially when you are in a fluid situation. You have no idea how far out a train is,” Allbee said.