A Colorado woman who was seriously injured after the patrol car she was detained in was struck by a freight train will still be charged in the alleged road rage incident for which she was initially pulled over.
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, suffered nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a fractured sternum and lost several teeth in the September collision, which was all caught on police body cam.
Nevertheless, the Weld County District Attorney is planning to charge her with one count of felony menacing.
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, was hit by a train while sitting in the back of a police patrol car, but she will still be charged with in the alleged road rage incident for which she was pulled over
Officers stopped their car on railroad tracks and ordered Rios-Gonzalez to walk toward them
Officers handcuffed 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez and placed her in the back of the car
Rios-Gonzalez’s family have set up a GoFundMe account to deal with her medical bills and loss of income
A number of law enforcement agencies were involved as they responded to reports of a road rage incident involving a firearm in Fort Lupton, north of Denver.
At the time of impact, Rios-Gonzalez had been handcuffed and placed in a patrol car that had inadvertently parked on railroad tracks.
She was ordered out of her vehicle at gunpoint and made to kneel while officers placed her in handcuffs.
It has since come to light that the arresting officer didn’t realize he had stopped the vehicle on the tracks, according to police body camera video.
Sgt. Pablo Vazquez told another officer he thought he had cleared the tracks.
In fact, he had actually parked his car squarely in the path of the train.
The officers cuffed the 20-year-old woman who was suspected of road rage
Officers could be seen speaking with the suspect in the moments before the train hit
Suddenly, the lights of the train could be seen barreling toward the car
More than five minutes later, the police, seemingly unaware of the extremely dangerous position in which they were parked, the officers could be seen chatting with female suspect.
From out of nowhere, the horn of a railroad train can be heard and it’s lights shining brightly. Seconds later an officer is heard shouting, ‘move your car, stay back!’
But there was no time to react before the train smashed into the police SUV, sending it hurtling down the tracks with Rios-Gonzalez still seated inside.
No one has been charged in the incident, but an officer was placed on administrative leave. He said he pulled up right behind her truck and was focused on her because he was concerned about weapons.
The mother-of-two was recently released from hospital but is still recovering from her injuries and is unable to work
The train can be seen smashing into the patrol car at tremendous speed. This photo was taken a split second before impact
The mother-of-two survived despite suffering nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a fractured sternum and losing several teeth in the accident
He said the ‘saving grace’ was that the other officer put Rios-Gonzalez on the side of the vehicle not usually used for people who are arrested.
Her lawyer, Paul Wilkinson, has said he plans to file a lawsuit against police.
Rios-Gonzalez, who is married and has a two-year-old daughter, was released from the hospital last month.
‘She is bedridden. She can move around a little bit. She also has a fractured leg that she wasn’t initially aware of,’ Wilkinson told the Fox News. ‘She’s still really, really hurt.’
Previously released video from Vazquez’s body camera show he and another officer searching Rios-Gonzalez’s truck as the train approaches.
Vazquez asks the other officer several times over the sound of the train’s rumbling whether Rios-Gonzalez was in the patrol vehicle and she responds, one hand to her face, ‘Oh my God, yes, she was!’
Other police video shows officers scrambling as the train approaches and slams into the vehicle.
In the aftermath of the horrific crash, Rios-Gonzalez’s mother set up a GoFundMe page that has so far managed to raise just shy of $7,500.
She said her daughter would never be the same following the crash.
Rios-Gonzalez can’t eat, get dressed or shower on her own.
‘We are highly blessed and thankful to our lord that she survived, although this will forever impact Yareni’s life. We need your help to continue Yareni’s medical treatments and help with expenses,’ she wrote.
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