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Videos show train crash into Colorado police cruiser with woman inside

Dashboard-camera video shows the moment a train struck a Platteville police vehicle parked on train tracks with a woman inside. (Fort Lupton Police Department)

As Colorado police officers searched Yareni Rios-Gonzalez’s truck on the night of Sept. 16, a train horn sounded in the distance.

The officers appeared to take note of the train only as it came within feet of a police vehicle parked on the tracks — with Rios-Gonzalez handcuffed inside, according to authorities and body-camera footage. A male officer standing near the tracks looked at the approaching train and grew frantic, the footage shows.

“Stay back!” he yelled.

Dashboard-camera video shows him walking quickly away from the vehicle just before the train plowed into it.

“Oh, my God. Oh, my God!” a female officer said as the train collided with the cruiser, according to her body-camera footage.

Rios-Gonzalez, 20, suffered multiple injuries but is expected to survive, authorities said. An officer with the Platteville Police Department has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, Colorado Public Radio reported.

On Friday, the Fort Lupton Police Department released an edited, eight-minute clip of body-camera and dashboard-camera footage that shows the events leading up the collision, as well as the moment the train hit the Platteville Police Department vehicle. It was released to multiple news outlets.

On the evening of Sept. 16, police had received a call about a road rage incident involving a firearm, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. A Platteville officer pulled over a suspect vehicle driven by Rios-Gonzalez, and Rios-Gonzalez stopped just past the train tracks, with the officer right behind her, the CBI said.

Two Fort Lupton police officers arrived to assist in detaining Rios-Gonzalez and searching her truck. Upon arrival, one of those officers drew her gun and took cover behind the Platteville patrol vehicle parked in the middle of the train tracks, her body-camera video shows. Over the course of about three minutes, the officers ordered Rios-Gonzalez to drop her cellphone, kneel on the ground and put her hands up. The female officer then handcuffed Rios-Gonzalez and put her into the vehicle on the tracks.

As Rios-Gonzalez was handcuffed, she repeatedly asked what was happening.

“I’m so confused,” she said before being placed in the police cruiser, according to the footage. About a minute later, a train horn could be heard in the background.

As the officers discussed whether it was possible Rios-Gonzalez could have tossed something out the window before the stop, the train horn became louder and more frequent, according to the footage. The officers only appeared to react moments before the collision.

Body-camera footage belonging to a male officer standing near the tracks shows him look into the light of the approaching train before telling the other officers to stay back. He looked back and forth from the police vehicle to the train and then stepped away from the tracks seconds before the train collided with the vehicle, a dashboard-camera video shows.

After the collision, the female officer requested emergency medical assistance, according to her body-camera footage. “The suspect was in the vehicle that was hit by the train,” she said.

The video clip briefly shows officers running toward the crumpled-up police vehicle on the side of the tracks before cutting to Weld County sheriff’s deputies doing a second search of Rios-Gonzalez’s truck and discussing her identification.

The Fort Lupton Police Department said in a Facebook post last week that it “is fully cooperating with the CBI investigation,” adding that it is investigating “the original criminal report.” The Weld County district attorney’s office has so far not filed charges against Rios-Gonzalez or any of the officers, a spokeswoman told CNN.

Neither police department responded to a request for comment from The Washington Post late Sunday.

An attorney for Rios-Gonzalez, Paul Wilkinson, told the Denver Post the situation could have been avoided if the Platteville police officer parked anywhere but on the train tracks.

“You just never park on a train track,” he said, adding, “It’s kind of unbelievable they did something like this.”

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