© 2024
NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Officer pleads not guilty in Colorado train-patrol car crash

Blue and red siren lights shine on a police car at night
Michael Förtsch
A second-degree felony assault charge has been dropped but felony attempted reckless manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges remain for an officer in court after a Sept. 16 collision between a police car and a freight train seriously injured a Greeley woman in the officer's custody.

A Colorado police officer accused of putting a handcuffed woman in a parked police car that was hit by a freight train pleaded not guilty on Thursday.

Jordan Steinke's lawyer entered the plea on her behalf during a brief court hearing that came a week after prosecutors dropped the most serious charge she had faced — second-degree felony assault. She is still charged with felony attempted reckless manslaughter and misdemeanor reckless endangerment in the Sept. 16 collision that seriously injured Yareni Rios, 21.

The collision occurred after multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a report of a road rage incident in Fort Lupton, Colorado. A Platteville, Colorado police officer stopped Rios' car just past a set of railroad tracks and parked the patrol vehicle on the tracks. Steinke, who was working for the Fort Lupton Police Department, is accused of putting Rios in the back of the car belonging to the Platteville officer, who is charged with five misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

Rios has filed a lawsuit accusing officers of acting recklessly and failing in their duty to take care of her while she was in their custody. In the lawsuit, Rios alleges the train tracks were "plainly visible" to Steinke when she put Rios in the back seat of the patrol car.

Related Content