Officer Jordan Steinke receives an Employee of the Month certificate
THE THIN BLUE LINE
A former Colorado police officer who put a handcuffed woman in a parked police vehicle that was hit by a freight train, inflicting serious injuries to the woman, has avoided a jail sentence and must serve 30 months on supervised probation.
Jordan Steinke, 29, was sentenced on Friday by Judge Timothy Kerns of Weld county district court, who found her guilty of reckless endangerment and assault for the 16 September 2022 crash near Platteville. Kerns acquitted the former Fort Lupton police officer of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter after her bench trial in July.
Kerns said he had planned to sentence Steinke to jail, but he changed his mind after both prosecutors and defense attorneys sought a probationary sentence, the Denver Post reported. “Someone is going to hear this and say: ‘Another officer gets off,’” Kerns said. “That’s not the facts of this case.”
“There’s no reasonable doubt that placing a handcuffed person in the back of a patrol car parked on railroad tracks creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm by the train,” Kerns said while reading the verdict.
Steinke had joined a traffic stop in Weld County, Colorado, last September, pulling over Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who was suspected of brandishing a gun at another driver in a road rage case earlier that evening. Steinke placed Rios into the cruiser of Platteville police officer Pablo Vasquez, who was the first to arrive on the scene and parked in the middle of a marked railroad crossing.
Body camera and dash camera video released by police showed Rios screaming for help as the train approached and struck the vehicle. She suffered nine broken ribs and a broken arm in addition to other injuries, but survived the crash.