Yareni Rios-Gonzalez Who Was Struck By Train While Detained in Police Car Now Sues Police Department
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who suffered injuries after a train hit her while detained in the back of a Colorado police vehicle, is now suing the Platteville Police Department. Two of the officers involved with the incident faced charges in early November, just less than two months after the crash occurred on September 16.
Yareni Rios-Gonzalez is the victim of a routine stop gone bad
Officers initially detained Rios-Gonzalez in response to a road rage incident involving a firearm. They considered the 20-year-old to be a suspect. The officers pulled Rios-Gonzalez over near a train crossing and, with their vehicle parked on the tracks, detained Rios-Gonzalez.
They then placed her in the back of a police vehicle. Soon after, a train struck her while the parked vehicle remained on the tracks.
However, Rios-Gonzalez is now pursuing a case against not just the officers involved, but the entire department. The official lawsuit states the department failed “to protect Plaintiff from being hit by a freight train while in custody.”
When the train hit Rios-Gonzalez as she sat in the back of a Platteville police vehicle, she suffered a broken sternum, a broken arm, and multiple broken ribs. In fact, Rios-Gonzalez was still facing charges of a road rage incident that led to her detainment in the first place as recently as November.
She’s going after the officers involved and the whole department
Speaking to The Independent in November 2022, Rios-Gonzalez’s lawyer, Paul Wilkinson, said, “She’s recovering, but it will be a long road. She’s doing physical therapy, counseling, working with her surgeons.” He added, “There is a combination of what I assume is post-traumatic stress disorder and [physical injuries.]”
The piece notes that Rios-Gonzalez and Wilkinson always intended to sue the department. However, they waited 90 days in accordance with a required waiting period. Wilkinson also alleges that Rios-Gonzalez was never the perpetrator in the first place.
In reference to her alleged attacker, Wilkinson said, “He even gave an interview in which he admitted to being aggressive and following her,” noting that her pursuer did not face any charges. So far, only two officers involved with the train incident are facing charges.
Sgt. Pablo Vasquez’s role
There’s officer Jordan Steinke, who is facing charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and criminal attempt to commit manslaughter. The other, Sgt. Pablo Vasquez, is also facing charges of reckless endangerment, along with obstructing a highway, careless driving, and parking where prohibited.
Sgt. Vasquez previously worked for the Federal Heights Police Department. There were five recorded “incidents” between 2014 and 2020, when he resigned. The Platteville department, however, hired him almost immediately after his resignation from Federal Heights.
In documents acquired by CBS, Vasquez was reportedly a “significant risk of liability to the City of Federal Heights and the safety of the officers under his supervision.” A different document, however, alleged that Vasquez “rarely knows where his officers are and what kind of call they are on.”
Additionally, he reportedly “has an extremely slow response time to calls or requests for cover.”