Fort Lupton Police Officer Sentenced to Probation for Locking Handcuffed Woman in Vehicle Hit by Train

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Image Credit: Fort Lupton Police Department

Fort Lupton police officer Jordan Steinke has been sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation for locking a handcuffed woman in a police vehicle that was subsequently hit by a freight train. Steinke, 29, was convicted in July of reckless endangerment and assault following the September 16, 2022, incident near U.S. 85 and Weld County Road 38. Steinke and then-Platteville police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez had stopped driver Yareni Rios-Gonzalez after a reported road-rage incident and locked her in a police SUV parked on railroad tracks. The officers failed to move the vehicle, resulting in the collision with the train.

During the sentencing hearing in Weld County District Court, Judge Timothy Kerns initially considered a jail sentence but ultimately decided on probation after hearing arguments from both the prosecution and defense. Kerns emphasized the need for a meaningful educational component in the sentence. Steinke, who was fired after the conviction, expressed remorse and wept during the hearing. She apologized to Rios-Gonzalez and stated her intention to give educational talks to new police officers about the dangers of railroad tracks and the importance of situational awareness.

As part of the sentence, Steinke must complete 100 hours of community service, with any educational component counting toward those hours. Her Peace Officer Standards and Training certification will also be revoked, effectively barring her from future law enforcement positions. Rios-Gonzalez, who suffered a brain injury and physical injuries in the crash, expressed conflicted feelings about the sentence and requested a letter of apology from Steinke, which the judge declined to order.

The case against Sgt. Pablo Vazquez is still pending, with a pre-trial conference scheduled for December.


Ryan Scott
Author: Ryan Scott

Just a guy

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