Woman left handcuffed in police car that was hit by a train is awarded $8.5 million

The Colorado woman badly injured in 2022 when the parked police car in which she was handcuffed was struck by a freight train has been awarded $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit against the police.

Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who had been detained by police in September 2022 for allegedly showing a gun during a road-rage incident, has been recovering at home with nine broken ribs, a broken arm, a fractured sternum and numerous other injuries to her head and back, her attorney, Paul Wilkinson, told KUSA-TV.

Dramatic video footage captured the moment the train struck the patrol car, which was parked directly on the tracks. Police bodycam and dashcam videos shows officers scrambling as the Union Pacific train approaches. Rios had been handcuffed and placed in the car while officers were searching her vehicle. One officer shouts, “Oh my God!” multiple times and another yells, “Stay back!” as the train’s horn blares before the crash.

The lawsuit was against the Platteville and Fort Lupton police departments in northern Colorado, as well as against individual officers, including two who have since been fired and criminally charged in the incident. The award will be paid by both towns in an insurance arrangement, their attorneys said.

“This is an excellent result and a hard-fought result,” Wilkinson was quoted as saying in the New York Post. The 22-year-old victim “is up and moving around. She is still recovering from some physical and emotional impacts that she’ll be dealing with for the rest of her life. But considering she got hit by a train, she’s doing all right.”

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