Officer who put suspect in car hit by train guilty of reckless endangerment but not manslaughter

28 July 2023

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado police officer who put a handcuffed woman in a parked police vehicle that was hit by a freight train has been found guilty of reckless endangerment and assault. Jordan Steinke was acquitted of the third charge of manslaughter.

Steinke was the first of two officers to go trial over the Sept. 16, 2022, crash that left Yareni Rios-Gonzalez seriously injured.

Steinke testified that she did not know that the patrol car of another officer she was helping was parked on the tracks even though they can be seen on her body camera footage along with two railroad crossing signs. Steinke said she was focused on the threat that could come from Rios-Gonzalez and her pickup truck, not the ground.

Steinke said she put Rios-Gonzalez in the other officer’s vehicle because it was the nearest spot to temporarily hold her. She said she didn’t know the train was coming until just before it hit.

There was no jury in Steinke’s trial, which started Monday. Instead, Judge Timothy Kerns listened to the evidence and issued the verdict.

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