Woman Hit by Freight Train While Detained in Cop Car Parked on the Tracks

State authorities are investigating, and an officer has been placed on administrative leave. The woman is expected to survive.
Screen Shot 2022-09-20 at 10
Screenshot: 9News

A Colorado woman was seriously injured when the squad car police officers put her into after arresting her for road rage was hit by a freight train. An officer has since been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated by state officials, according to local media reports.


The bizarre incident took place on September 16 in Platteville, Colorado, a town of about 3,000 people some 40 miles north of Denver. According to 9News, the local NBC affiliate, the woman, 20-year-old Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, was pulled over as a suspect in a road rage incident where someone called 911 after a driver had tailgated them and then pulled out a gun. Local police and county sheriff officers pulled the woman over just across railroad tracks, according to state investigators. The officers put the woman in the back of a squad car that was, inexplicably, parked on railroad tracks. While the police searched Rios-Gonzalez’s car, a freight train hit the squad car Rios-Gonzalez was in. According to 9News, Rios-Gonzalez suffered serious injuries but is “expected to survive,” according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the incident. 

Sign up for Motherboard’s daily newsletter for a regular dose of our original reporting, plus behind-the-scenes content about our biggest stories.

It is not clear why the squad car was parked across train tracks. Video from the crash scene shows the crossing is marked. There were 8,523 incidents involving trains hitting people or vehicles at railroad crossings in 2021, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, 74 percent of which were cars, pick-ups, or trucks with trailers attached. Among those collisions, 235 people were killed and 669 injured. 

These incidents can also be traumatic for the freight rail workers operating the trains and the draconian attendance policies freight rail companies enforce make it difficult for them to get mental health care. One worker told Motherboard that after a woman attempted suicide by standing in front of his train, his employer BNSF gave him three days off but effectively prevented him from scheduling counseling sessions. “I should be able to schedule counseling sessions on scheduled days off like a normal person who matters,” he said.