Former officer who left a woman in a car to be hit by a train in Colorado receives parole | Colorado | ET REALITY


A former Colorado police officer who put a handcuffed woman in a parked police vehicle that was hit by a freight train, causing serious injuries, has avoided a prison sentence and must serve 30 months on supervised probation.

Jordan Steinke, 29, was sentenced Friday by Weld County District Court Judge Timothy Kerns, who found her guilty of reckless endangerment and assault for the Sept. 16, 2022, crash near Platteville. Kerns acquitted the former Fort Lupton police officer of criminal attempt to commit involuntary manslaughter after her trial in July.

Kerns said he had planned to sentence Steinke to prison, but changed his mind after both prosecutors and defense attorneys requested a sentence of probation, the Denver Post reported.

“Someone will hear this and say, ‘Another officer is getting out,’” Kerns said. “Those are not the facts of this case.”

He ordered Steinke to perform 100 hours of community service. And if he violates the terms of his probation, “I will remember my original gut response about how to approach the sentence,” Kerns warned.

Steinke, who cried during the sentencing hearing, apologized to Yareni Ríos-González, who attended the hearing virtually.

“What happened that night has haunted me for 364 days,” Steinke said. “I remember your cries and your screams.”

Steinke said he hoped to fulfill part of his community service by giving educational talks to new police officers about the dangers of railroad tracks and the importance of officers being aware of their surroundings.

Platteville Police Sergeant Pablo Vazquez then detained Rios Gonzalez after a road rage incident involving a gun. Steinke detained her and locked her in Vázquez’s police vehicle, which was parked on the train tracks. A train collided with the SUV.

Ríos-González, who suffered a lasting brain injury and is still in pain, was not convinced how she wanted Steinke to be punished, attorney Chris Ponce said.

“The conflict that she feels is one in which every day she has to feel this pain,” Ponce said. “And she’s had to deal with (medical) appointments and her life changing so radically. And feeling upset, very upset about it, angry about it, but on the other hand, feeling something for Ms. Steinke and, I think, feeling real empathy for how she lost her career.”

Steinke was fired from the Fort Lupton Police Department after her conviction. She is expected to lose her peace officer standards and training certification, said her attorney, Mallory Revel, which means she will never be able to be a police officer again.

During Steinke’s trial, her defense attorneys said she did not know that Vazquez had parked his police vehicle on the tracks.

Vázquez still faces trial for his role in the accident. He has been charged with five counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly endangering Rios-Gonzalez, Steinke and three other people, as well as traffic violations, including prohibited parking.

Ríos González also filed a lawsuit against the police agencies involved.

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