Officials settle $8.5 million with Colorado woman left handcuffed in police automobile hit by train

By Joe Sutton and Elizabeth Wolfe | CNN

Local authorities in Colorado have reached an $8.5 million settlement with a girl who was hospitalized in 2022 after handcuffed in a police SUV that was then hit by a train.

The city of Fort Lupton and the town of Platteville, Colorado, have reached a settlement with the victim, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, in keeping with a news release from Fort Lupton police. The settlement amount shall be split equally between the town and the township and paid by their insurers, in keeping with attorney Eric M. Ziporin, whose office is representing the town.

Rios, who was considered a suspect in a road rage case, survived the September 2022 collision but suffered nine broken ribs, a broken arm and other injuries.

“This voluntary settlement is to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, recognizes the seriousness of this matter and allows all parties to move forward,” Fort Lupton police said.

Fort Lupton police officer Jordan Steinke, who put Rios within the vehicle, was found guilty He was charged last 12 months with reckless endangerment and third-degree assault in reference to the accident and sentenced to 30 months probation and 100 hours of community service.

On the day of the accident, Steinke was present at a traffic stop during which officers stopped Rios, who authorities said was suspected of pointing a gun at one other driver earlier that evening. Steinke put Rios in Platteville police officer Pablo Vasquez's patrol automobile, which was parked in the course of a railroad crossing.

Steinke argued during her trial that she didn’t notice the route of the railroad tracks despite several warning signs, including one next to where she parked her automobile.

The officer said she was not fully aware of her surroundings because she was afraid of approaching a suspect who may need a weapon. “You can only divide your attention to a certain extent,” Steinke testified.

CNN has reached out to the town of Platteville and an attorney for Rios for comment on the settlement.

Fort Lupton is positioned about 30 miles north of Denver.

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