DA drops criminal charges against officer in train crash

DA drops criminal charges against officer in train crash

DENVER (AP) – Prosecutors have dismissed the most serious charges against a Colorado police officer who locked a handcuffed woman in a parked police car after being hit by a freight train and seriously injured her.

According to court documents, the Weld County District Attorney’s Office dismissed second-degree felony assault charges against Officer Jordan Steink Thursday. Stein and another officer face less serious charges in connection with the Sept. 16, 2022, incident.

The collision occurred after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a report of a road rage incident in Fort Lupton, Colorado. A Platteville police officer stopped Jareni Rios’ car just over a set of railroad tracks and parked the patrol car at the crossing. Another officer handcuffed Rios and placed him in the back of the police car, which hit the train while officers were searching his car.

The 21-year-old Rios survived with serious injuries, and later filed a lawsuit accusing the three officers of recklessly questioning and failing in their duty of care while in their custody. In the lawsuit, Rios alleges that the train tracks were “plainly visible” to Steink as he placed Rios in the back seat of a Platteville sergeant’s patrol car. Pablo Vazquez.

Court records do not reveal why prosecutors dropped the assault charges against Steinke. Krista Henry, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, said she could not comment because of the pending case.

Steinke still faces other less serious charges related to the incident, including attempted reckless homicide and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Stein was placed on administrative leave after the collision and remains on leave, according to the police department.

Steinke’s attorney, Mallory Revell, said in a statement Friday that dismissing the assault charge was “the right thing” for the district attorney’s office and that the remaining charges should be dismissed as well.

Vazquez is charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and is scheduled for a pre-trial conference in March. Vazquez was fired from the police department in December, Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer said Friday. A phone number for Vazquez could not be found.

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