Warning: Distressing Content
Police in Colorado have released bodycam footage showing the moment a patrol car was hit by a train with a handcuffed suspect still inside.
In the video released by the Fort Lupton Police Department, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez could be seen being handcuffed by officers on 16 September after she was identified as a suspect in a road rage case.
Police took the driver into a patrol car belonging to Platteville Police Department, which had been parked on train tracks just behind Rios-Gonzalez's car, and went back to search her truck, checking whether anyone else was inside before looking for a weapon.
Cameras caught the moment the train was hit. Warning: distressing content:
As Rios-Gonzalez sat in the truck, the noise of a train horn could be heard and officers began to panic as the train struck the idle car, pushing it into a nearby field.
The officer on the scene could be heard on the video calling for a medical response, with one explaining: "The suspect was in the vehicle that was hit by the train."
Rios-Gonzalez was rushed to hospital with multiple injuries, but the Colorado Bureau of Investigations said she is expected to survive the ordeal. The crash is said to have left her with nine broken ribs, a broken arm, broken teeth and injuries to her head.
The suspect's attorney, Paul Wilkinson, has claimed Rios-Gonzalez was trying to get the officers' attention before the car was hit.
“When she was in the back of the car, she was able to see the train coming,” Wilkinson told CNN. “She was frantically trying to escape, trying to open the doors, but she was handcuffed.”
The lawyer claimed Rios-Gonzalez had been screaming to try and get the attention of the officers, saying: “I don’t know if they just couldn’t hear her or if they were too busy searching her car, but she saw it coming and prepared for the worst. And as you can imagine, lost consciousness and woke up at the hospital. She’s obviously very upset.”
Before the train hit the car, the officers could be seen in bodycam footage searching Rios-Gonzalez's truck for weapons and discussing whether she might have thrown anything out of the window before being pulled over.
A search of the truck revealed a gun in the center console, as well as a bullet and a holster.
Carl Dwyer, the Platteville Police Chief, has said the officer who left the patrol car on the train tracks has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation.
Fort Lupton police have referred the case against Rios-Gonzalez to the Weld County District Attorney, though a spokesperson has said no charges have been filed yet.
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