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Former Colorado police officer gets probation after detaining a woman in a car that was hit by a train

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  • In 2022, a police officer in Fort Lupton, Colorado, arrested a woman in a road-rage incident and left her in a car that was parked on train tracks.
  • The woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a freight train struck the parked vehicle.
  • Former Police Officer Jordan Steinke has avoided jail but was sentenced to serve 30 months on supervised probation.

A former Colorado police officer who put a handcuffed woman in a parked police vehicle that was hit by a freight train, causing the woman to suffer serious injuries, has avoided a jail sentence and must instead serve 30 months on supervised probation.

Jordan Steinke, 29, was sentenced Friday by Weld County District Court Judge Timothy Kerns, who found her guilty of reckless endangerment and assault for the Sept. 16, 2022, crash near Platteville. Kerns acquitted the former Fort Lupton police officer of criminal attempt to commit manslaughter after her bench trial in July.

Kerns said he had planned to sentence Steinke to jail, but he changed his mind after both prosecutors and defense attorneys sought a probationary sentence, The Denver Post reported.

OFFICER PLACED ON LEAVE AFTER TRAIN CRASHED INTO POLICE CAR PARKED ON TRACKS WITH SUSPECT INSIDE

“Someone is going to hear this and say: ‘Another officer gets off,’ ” Kerns said. “That’s not the facts of this case.”

He ordered Steinke to perform 100 hours of community service. And if she violates the terms of her probation, “I will harken back to my original gut response as to how to address sentencing,” Kerns warned.

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Steinke, who wept during the sentencing hearing, apologized to Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, who attended the hearing virtually.

“What happened that night has haunted me for 364 days,” Steinke said. “I remember your cries and your screams.”

A freight train barrels toward a parked police car with a suspect inside on Sep. 16, 2022, in Fort Lupton, Colorado. (Fort Lupton Police Department via AP, File)

Steinke said she hoped to fulfill some of her community service by giving educational talks to new police officers about the dangers of railroad tracks and the importance of officers being aware of their surroundings.

Then-Plateville Police Sgt. Pablo Vazquez had stopped Rios-Gonzalez after a reported road-rage incident involving a gun. Steinke took her into custody and locked her in Vazquez’s police vehicle, which was parked on the railroad tracks. A train crashed into the SUV.

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Rios-Gonzalez, who suffered a lasting brain injury and is in pain, was conflicted about how she wanted Steinke to be punished, attorney Chris Ponce said.

CO OFFICER WHO PUT WOMAN IN PATROL VEHICLE THAT WAS HIT BY TRAIN CLAIMS SHE DIDN’T REALIZE CAR WAS ON TRACKS

“The conflict that she feels is one where every day she has to feel this pain,” Ponce said. “And she’s had to deal with (doctor) appointments and having her life so radically changed. And feeling upset, very upset about that — angry about that — but on the other hand, feeling for Ms. Steinke, and, I think, truly empathetically feeling sorry for how she lost her career.”

Steinke was fired from the Fort Lupton police department after her conviction. She is expected to lose her Peace Officer Standards and Training certification, her attorney Mallory Revel said, meaning she can never be a police officer again.

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During Steinke’s trial, her defense attorneys said she did not know that Vazquez had parked his police vehicle on the tracks.

Vazquez still faces trial for his role in the crash. He has been charged with five counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly putting Rios-Gonzalez, Steinke and three other people at risk, as well as for traffic-related violations, including parking where prohibited.

Rios-Gonzalez has also filed a lawsuit against the police agencies involved.

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Hawaii

One person dead, 11 injured in shuttle bus crash in Hawaii – KYMA

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One person dead, 11 injured in shuttle bus crash in Hawaii – KYMA


HONOLULU (NBC, KYMA/KECY) – One person is dead and 11 others were injured on Friday after a shuttle bus ran into a group near Honolulu Cruise Port.

“I seen the whole thing. Somebody screamed, and then I looked over and the bus hit into the crowd, and it just kept going until I hit the wall there. It knocked over the cement. Big cement block was pushed out and the bus hit into the wall.”

Janet Lightfoot, an ER doctor from Florida visiting Hawaii

Lightfoot is on a cruise with her mom. They were at Pier 2 at Honolulu Harbor, waiting for the shuttle to go shopping, when Lightfoot saw this bus with a Hilo Hatties logo heading toward a crowd of people.

“My instincts are to go help. So, I ran over and kind of started triaging people and trying to help,” Lightfoot explained.

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“It just kept going and my daughter yells out, ‘There’s nobody right driving the bus,’ and then poof, it hits the wall,” said Linda Peck, visiting from Florida.

Honolulu police say at around 10:24am, a 57-year-old man dropped off customers at Pier 2 and was notified by a bystander that his vehicle was moving forward.

The driver ran back in the bus to try to stop it, but he pressed the gas pedal instead of the brakes and crashed into two concrete barriers and five pedestrians.

Several EMS units responded to the scene. Six people were taken to the hospital, including a 68-year-old woman who died of her injuries.

“I’m a little shook up. Because, you know, just watching it was pretty shaken,” Peck expressed.

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“It definitely puts a damper on my vacation. I deal with this every day. And I work in the emergency room. But this is just different. We’re on vacation. I seen the incident happen. You know, the husband of one of the family members was there and just sad. Very sad that this happened.”

Janet Lightfoot, an ER doctor from Florida visiting Hawaii

The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii says all five victims were visiting from Illinois.

Police say it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.



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Idaho

Shoshone Falls After Dark returns for the month of May – Local News 8

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Shoshone Falls After Dark returns for the month of May – Local News 8


TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) – Southern Idaho Tourism, with the help of Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho Power, and the City of Twin Falls, will illuminate Shoshone Falls again this spring for the fourth year in a row. However, this time the event will stretch for the entire month of May weekly Thursdays through Sundays.

According to Southern Idaho Tourism marketing and event coordinator Haley Evans, this event has sold out each year with viewers coming from all over the country.

“Shoshone Falls After Dark has quickly become one of the region’s most popular events, and we’re thrilled to expand it so even more people can experience this breathtaking spectacle,” Evans said. “Shoshone Falls is one of Idaho’s most iconic and beloved landmarks, and showering this magnificent high-desert landscape with a symphony of lights and music under the stars is truly magical and mesmerizing.”

Once again the presenters are partnering with Midnight Production Studios in Twin Falls to immerse visitors in lights, music and the natural beauty of Shoshone Falls. Plus, renowned Idaho DJ Eric Rhodes
will serve up his signature, high-energy mix of pre-recorded music.

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Event merchandise will be available for purchase at the shows from Magic Valley Mobile Swag, and the Glazed Over donut and drink truck will be on hand to sell treats.

Michael Watson, chief marketing officer at Idaho Central Credit Union, said the financial institution is excited to help bring this popular attraction back for the fourth consecutive year and is thrilled it has
become an annual tradition.

“Idaho Central Credit Union is so proud to be a part of the Shoshone Falls After Dark event again this year,” Watson said. “The vibrant music and light show illuminating the falls at night takes it to a next-level magical experience. If you haven’t had a chance to check this out yet, now is the time.”

Renowned as the “Niagara of the West,” Shoshone Falls stands 212 feet tall, 36 feet higher than Niagara Falls.

Viewers will have the opportunity to enter the park after hours and view the falls illuminated with lights choreographed to music with their pre-purchased, timed vehicle ticket. The light show will run for about 10 minutes on a loop until about 10:30 p.m.

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This year’s show will be shorter than previous ones to allow for more ticket sales because the event has a history of sell-out nights.

Vehicle tickets cost $20. Go to visitsouthidaho.com for more details and to buy tickets.



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Montana

Montana Air National Guard will receive new C-130J planes

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Montana Air National Guard will receive new C-130J planes


GREAT FALLS — Governor Greg Gianforte announced in a news release on April 11, 2024, that the Montana Air National Guard’s 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls will be first of four bases to receive the new C-130J model Super Hercules cargo aircraft.

The 120th will receive eight of the new models as a one-for-one replacement of existing C-130Hs.

The C-130J improves on the C-130H with additional payload capacity, more efficient engines, and improved performance.

The new planes will help to “reduce manpower requirements, lower operating and support costs, and provide life-cycle cost saving over earlier C-130 models,” according to a news release from the 120th Airlift Wing.

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The new aircraft will require pilots to undergo re-training due to new engines and avionic capabilities. New maintenance training will also be conducted.



Eight C-130J aircraft will be used to recapitalize the C-130H fleet at each of the four locations.

In addition to the Montana unit, the following will also receive the new planes: 103rd Airlift Wing in Hartford, Connecticut; 133rd Airlift Wing in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Illinois.





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