A Colorado officer has been placed on administrative leave after the officer parked his patrol car on train tracks before placing a detained woman inside. The car was then struck by a train.
The woman survived the accident, though she suffered serious injuries.
The accident, which occurred on the night of Sept. 16 at about 7:30 p.m., happened near U.S. 285 and Weld County Road 38 in Weld County, according to The Denver Post.
According to reports, the woman — who has been identified as Yareni Rios-Gonzalez — was taken to the hospital, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
The Post reported that police were searching for a vehicle involved in a road rage incident. After finding the truck involved, 20-year-old Rios-Gonzalez was pulled to a stop just past the railroad tracks, with the patrol officer parking behind the car on the tracks.
Two Lupton officers then helped conduct “a high-risk traffic stop” and detained Rios-Gonzalez, placing her “in the back of the Platteville patrol car,” KUSA reported. Officers then “cleared the suspect[‘s] vehicle as part of the investigation,” according to the Post.
According to the Fort Lupton Police Department, “Within a matter of seconds, the Platteville’s police vehicle, which contained the female detainee, was struck by a northbound train.” Officers “immediately summoned medical assistance and began life-sustaining measures,” the department said in a news release.
Bodycam footage of the incident has since been released.
WARNING: The following video contains footage that some viewers may find disturbing.
In the video, the train can be heard repeatedly honking its horn as it approached, with police apparently oblivious. After a male officer realized a train was approaching and they were near the tracks, he shouted for the others to “move your car” and to “stay back.” However, the train was only seconds away from impact.
A female officer can then be heard calling dispatch, saying, “The suspect was in the vehicle that was hit by the train.”
The Post reported that Rios-Gonzalez had been taken to a Greeley hospital, where she is expected to survive.
One of the officers involved was placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated, according to KDVR.
According to Ed Obayashi, who is an expert on police practices, the police should never have parked on the tracks in the first place.
“Those who are in your custody, you’ve detained them or they’re in the back of your patrol car, you have a duty of care towards that subject,” said Obayashi, a California sheriff’s deputy, according to KUSA.
“In other words, since you have assumed control, physical control, over them and their movements, you are by definition responsible to protect them in any situation.”
“I can’t fathom why he would leave his vehicle on the tracks with the subject inside,” he said. “Why didn’t you move the vehicle off the tracks? That’s going to be the biggest question.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.