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Mixed verdict for officer who put road rage suspect in police car on train tracks


DENVER (KDVR) — A Fort Lupton police officer has been acquitted of the most serious charge she faced for leaving a woman in a patrol car before it got hit by a train but was found guilty of two lesser counts.

Officer Jordan Steinke was found not guilty of attempted reckless manslaughter, a felony. She was found guilty of two misdemeanors: third-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The decision came from Weld County Judge Timothy Kerns, who issued the verdict Friday afternoon following a 4-day trial. Steinke chose to let a judge decide her fate in what’s called a bench trial instead of a more traditional jury trial.

The Sept. 16, 2022, crash in Fort Lupton was captured by officers’ body cameras. Steinke had placed a 21-year-old woman accused of waving a gun at a fellow driver in the back of a different officer’s patrol car that was sitting on the tracks.

Kerns told the courtroom that to find Steinke guilty of the felony count, he would have to believe she knowingly acted recklessly when she placed a hand-cuffed Yareni Rios-Gonzales in the back of another officer’s patrol car.

Steinke testified that she was unaware the patrol car was sitting on railroad tracks because they were flush with the road, it was dark and there wasn’t a lot of signage.

Prosecutors said Steinke walked across the railroad tracks five times during the nighttime traffic stop, including when she put Rios-Gonzalez inside the patrol vehicle.

Rios-Gonzales survived the crash but suffered multiple injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, and is suing over the circumstances of the accident.

Rios-Gonzales was arrested after a driver reported that she pointed a gun at him during a road rage incident and later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor menacing, according to one of her lawyers.

Steinke will be sentenced on Sept. 15 at 3:30 p.m. She wanted to proceed to sentencing immediately, but the victim requested to attend the sentencing in person.


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