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Former Colo. officer pleads guilty to parking cruiser on railroad tracks after detainee severely injured

Pablo Vazquez was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to reckless endangerment charges

Detained Suspect Train Crash

FILE - This screen grab from dash camera video provided by the Fort Lupton Police Department shows a freight train barreling toward a parked police car with a suspect inside, Sept. 16, 2022, in Fort Lupton, Colo. A former Fort Lupton Police officer, Jordan Steinke, was sentenced to 30 months on supervised probation on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023, for placing the handcuffed suspect in the car on the tracks. The collision seriously injured 21-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez. The date/time stamp shown on the video is incorrect. (Fort Lupton Police Department via AP, File)


Associated Press

DENVER — A former Colorado police officer pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of reckless endangerment for parking his patrol car on railroad tracks before a handcuffed woman was put inside and seriously injured when it was hit by a freight train.

Pablo Vazquez had been charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment in connection with the crash that injured Yareni Rios last year but reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

A judge sentenced Vazquez to 12 months of unsupervised probation. If he stays out of trouble during that time, the misdemeanor charge will be dismissed and the case will be sealed, KUSA-TV reported.

Another former officer who put the woman in the patrol car after a traffic stop, Jordan Steinke, was found guilty of reckless endangerment and assault for the crash near Platteville. A judge acquitted her of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter after a bench trial in July.

Steinke was sentenced to 30 months of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service after both prosecutors and defense attorneys asked for her not to be sent to jail.

Rios suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as numerous broken ribs, a broken leg and a broken back in the crash and is suing police.

Her attorney, Christopher Ponce, called Vazquez’s sentence “disappointing”, adding that Rios wished there was more of a permanent conviction.