Video released by police in Colorado shows the harrowing moment a train crashed into a police car that had a woman handcuffed inside.
The Fort Lupton Police Department shared video of the incident, which took place on Sept. 16.
According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, 20, sustained serious injuries when the back of the patrol car was hit by a train near the town of Platteville, near Denver, just after 7:30 p.m.
Rios-Gonzalez had been detained moments earlier after officers responded to what Fort Lupton police called a “high-risk vehicle stop” in a Facebook post.
Edited bodycam and dashcam footage released by police shows officers approaching Rios-Gonzalez with at least one gun drawn, and ordering her to put her hands up and exit her car.
In the video, Rios-Gonzalez can be heard asking officers multiple times why she is being arrested. The video shows an officer place her in the back of the patrol vehicle before searching her pickup truck. A train horn can be heard in the distance as police look through the vehicle.
An officer standing beside the car can be seen backing away as another officer yells “stay back.” Seconds later, the train smashes into the side of the car where Rios-Gonzalez was sitting. The passenger-side front door of the vehicle was open and the car can be seen sliding several feet down the tracks.
Rios-Gonzalez’s lawyer, Jonathan Stine, told NBC News Monday that his client remains in hospital. He told the outlet she lost teeth as a result of the impact, as well as suffering a broken arm, multiple fractured ribs and other injuries to her head and legs.
In an update, the CBI says the officers were responding to a report of a road rage confrontation that involved a gun. They say they detained Rios-Gonzalez on suspicion of felony menacing.
Another one of her lawyers, Paul Wilkinson, told the Denver Post his client “saw (the train) coming and could hear the horn.”
“She was trying to get the police officers’ attention, screaming at them. She tried unlocking the door. She had her hands behind her back and was frantically trying to unlock the door.
“I don’t think you ever park on a train track. Ever,” Wilkinson said, placing blame on the officers. “That would have avoided the whole situation. You just never park on a train track. You have to park somewhere else.
“It’s unbelievable they did something like this.”
Three agencies are investigating the incident: the Fort Lupton Police Department is investigating the road rage report, the Colorado state patrol is examining the crash and the CBI is looking at the injuries that Rios-Gonzalez sustained while in custody.
The names of the officers involved have not been released. Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer previously told NBC News that the officer involved from his department has been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is completed.
The end of the video shows footage of the mangled police vehicle and then cuts to officers finding a gun in the centre console of the truck Rios-Gonzalez was driving. They also found a gun holster and a bullet, as shown in the video.
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