Trains.com

Colorado Police Detain Suspect, Confine to Squad car on RR Tracks, Train Hits Locked

4959 views
105 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Colorado Police Detain Suspect, Confine to Squad car on RR Tracks, Train Hits
Posted by Convicted One on Monday, September 19, 2022 10:13 PM

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/19/detained-woman-struck-train-police-car/10429610002/

 

Okay, so they pull this gal over,  detain her in their squad car parked on an active RR crossing while they search her vehicle..  And a train approaches and strikes the vehicle BEFORE the cops can rescue her?  wow....

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 23,108 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Monday, September 19, 2022 10:19 PM

Convicted One
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/19/detained-woman-struck-train-police-car/10429610002/ 

Okay, so they pull this gal over,  detain her in their squad car parked on an active RR crossing while they search her vehicle..  And a train approaches and strikes the vehicle BEFORE the cops can rescue her?  wow....

Police need to be trained on more than how to shoot their weapons.  It is tough to fix stupid.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 23,532 posts
Posted by tree68 on Monday, September 19, 2022 10:22 PM

Situational awareness goes a long way.

Recall the Detroit ladder truck that got hit several years ago.

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 19,395 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 7:47 AM

Convicted One
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/09/19/detained-woman-struck-train-police-car/10429610002/

Sure hope Platteville is insured for eight figures or better.  Whether they manage to find some sort of 'weapon' in the woman's car or not...

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 4,528 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 8:26 AM

Possibly the officers believed the line to be abandoned or not in use. Just the same though, parking on the tracks never a good idea.. training required to understand that? Hopefully not..  

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Denver / La Junta
  • 10,555 posts
Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 9:05 AM

Ulrich

Possibly the officers believed the line to be abandoned or not in use. Just the same though, parking on the tracks never a good idea.. training required to understand that? Hopefully not..  

 

It's the Yellow Peril's Greeley Sub main between Cheyenne and Denver. 804342X is a busy place with 10+ trains/day at 60 MPH....Hardly abandoned. The irony is the thing is wide open*. The state is investigating. Tree's point is very valid.

The stop sign attached to the cross-bucks should have been a clue?

 

*relatively flat, dirt road, 400' wide FGROW with no trees. Flat sweeping light curve to the north of the crossing. Crossing itself is in the tangent. 

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 4,528 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 9:29 AM

mudchicken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stop sign attached to the cross-bucks should have been a clue?

 

 

 

Well, they did stop. I'm not sure how dumb or how "situationally unaware" they'd have to be to park on a busy rail line.. First clue should have been the presence of railroad tracks.. Quite possibly they knew very well that they had parked on the tracks, and leaving her in the car helpless and by herself was a  move calculated to scare the living daylights out of her. That to me at least is more believable than the cops made a mistake.. 

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 13,108 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:05 AM

Unfortunately, I suspect the officers were so focused on the possibility of the suspect having a gun she could use against them that their insticts just blocked out everything else. We had something like that happen here a while back, an officer used their gun when they meant to use their tazer when trying to arrest someone wanted for skipping bail on an armed robbery charge.

Stix
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 4,528 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:10 AM

wjstix

Unfortunately, I suspect the officers were so focused on the possibility of the suspect having a gun she could use against them that their insticts just blocked out everything else. We had something like that happen here a while back, an officer used their gun when they meant to use their tazer when trying to arrest someone wanted for skipping bail on an armed robbery charge.

 

 

I doubt it.. they left her alone in the patrol car while they searched her vehicle. 

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:01 AM

Overmod
Sure hope Platteville is insured for eight figures or better.

I was thinking the same.   The engineer was no doubt traumatized by this too. And I believe that in instances of willful negligence, all "workmans comp" type exclusions are waived (not that the engineer will go after his employer, rather that no workplace limitations will shelter the city from claims made by anyone's employees) 

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:12 AM

wjstix
Unfortunately, I suspect the officers were so focused on the possibility of the suspect having a gun she could use against them that their insticts just blocked out everything else.

I'd buy your explanation with one caveat.   I don't believe their inattentiveness was driven by concerns for their own safety.  Let's be realistic, by the time the suspect is locked in the back of the cruiser, you are also in handcuffs.   I'd be willing to buy that the officers were so wrapped up in their own sense of priority, that nothing else mattered to them.  I think it's sometimes called "heat of pursuit"  or more charitably.... "passion for one's duty".

Of course, safety of anyone in their custody is also their duty as well. That's where it's gonna get sticky even if the gal was ~Al Capone~

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:25 AM

So, does the railroad file charges against the city in this case?  Not so much to collect damages, but just as a pre-emptive move to fix the blame, establishing the railroad as a co-plaintif.

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 7:00 PM

Okay, it turns out the vic is an active TSA agent, and the crossing in question has a history.

https://www.9news.com/article/news/local/train-crossing-fatal-history/73-19b1aa25-318c-4a0d-ad7d-1161398aa8aa

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Flyover Country
  • 4,495 posts
Posted by York1 on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 7:13 PM

Crossing with no lights, signals, or gates.

York1 John       

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Guelph, Ontario
  • 4,528 posts
Posted by Ulrich on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 8:04 PM

York1

Crossing with no lights, signals, or gates.

 

 

But clearly visible tracks and a crossbuck. Most every crossing has a history. Maybe that crossing could and should be improved, but that has no bearing on this event. 

  • Member since
    May 2005
  • From: S.E. South Dakota
  • 13,498 posts
Posted by Murphy Siding on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 8:44 PM

     I find this quote from the article interesting: "The crossing doesn’t have lights, signals or gates that initiate when a train approaches." But they don't mention that the crossing has railroad tracks, crossbucks, stop signs, and a train equiped with headlights, a bell and a horn when it approaches. It's almost like the writer wants to pass the blame from the police officer onto the railroad for what happened.

      Was the police officer so wrapped up in his work that he didn't hear the train horn?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,020 posts
Posted by rdamon on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 9:04 PM

Google Street View is from 2007

 

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:00 PM

Murphy Siding
It's almost like the writer wants to pass the blame from the police officer onto the railroad for what happened.

I think it's mostly a matter  of the railroad  being the deep pocketed one at the table. 

Not that I agree that the RR shares responsibility.  It's just the way these things always seem to play out. Throw as much blame as you can at the deep pocket, and anything that manages to stick, is seen as "victory". (JMHO)

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 23,532 posts
Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:25 PM

Murphy Siding
It's almost like the writer wants to pass the blame from the police officer onto the railroad for what happened.

Public safety officer (almost) doing his job, or the big, bad railroad...

Based on what I've read, I'm putting this squarely on the cop.  Situational awareness...

 

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:45 PM

rdamon
rdamon wrote the following post 1 hours ago: Google Street View is from 2007

 

 

 

Are you positive of that?  Doesn't look like a main to me.   I think the accident site is further east on  CR 38, near where it crosses US-85

 

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.2608498,-104.7996865,3a,75y,282.83h,73.8t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s82mAkeSpzNv9pJsZpjaT8Q!2e0!7i3328!8i1664

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: US
  • 670 posts
Posted by rixflix on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:00 PM

I doubt that the street view is the collision site. Even in 2021 street view any train on that track probably wouldn't exceed 5mph. It's more likely that it happened at the intersection of county road 38 and US 85  where the track would allow speeds consistent with her injuries. She correctly stopped after crossing but the cop had an incomprehensible lack of judgment in parking where he did.

Rest easy accident sleuths, the full story will be revealed when it's ready

Rick

rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:03 PM

rixflix
I doubt that the street view is the collision site. Even in 2021 street view any train on that track probably wouldn't exceed 5mph. It's more likely that it happened at the intersection of county road 38 and US 85, where there are no crossing warnings and the track would allow speeds consistent with her injuries. She correctly stopped after crossing but the cop had an incomprehensible lack of judgment in parking where he did. Rest easy accident sleuths, the full story will be revealed when it's ready

 

Check my link  (from the post immediately prior to yours) for the correct site, further east (across the South Platte river in fact)

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 11:08 PM
  • Member since
    December 2007
  • From: Georgia USA SW of Atlanta
  • 11,150 posts
Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 2:40 AM

Another one of those  !~~ 45 degree angle crossings.  I fault the police officer.  But let us look at his training for stops.   Just from observation do most police stops always stop directly behind & inline with the vehicle in question ?  That may be to give officers protection behind their car if a gun is possible. As the articles say it was a  possible gun stop.   

So in this case he did stop directly behind the car stopped.   Training in sstops shouldd emphasize stopping police car at a safe location.  

  • Member since
    July 2008
  • 2,020 posts
Posted by rdamon on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 7:27 AM

Convicted One

That looks more probable. Of course in the 15 years since the street view was taken it could be a 4 lane road now! 

 

But, "Hey, a train hardly ever comes by here"

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,626 posts
Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 7:31 AM

I don’t see how this happened, situational awareness notwithstanding.   They left their squad car parked on the track, and were searching the suspect’s car.  I would assume that they were not far from their car when the train appeared.  Even if they failed to notice the train until they heard the horn being blown, it should have been possible to get to their car and move it in time.  But they must have frozen at that point.  I suspect their training demands that officers not take a chance that puts their own life in danger in a situation like this.  So a desperate rescue attempt would have been unacceptably “outside the box.” 

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 9:50 AM

Euclid
I don’t see how this happened, situational awareness notwithstanding.   They left their squad car parked on the track, and were searching the suspect’s car.  I would assume that they were not far from their car when the train appeared.  Even if they failed to notice the train until they heard the horn being blown,

I am trying to be careful and not use verbiage that "pro-law enforcement" types might find offensive, so if this comes across as a little vague, you'll know why.  In the scenario the police were working their way through,  they frequently  have themselves so convinced they are "fighting the good fight",  that (other) real world complications  might be interpreted as a nuisance.

When seeking contraband is priority #1,  other stimuli can become extraneous noise.  They  may have heard the horns, but believed they were on a "higher mission" is my personal suspicion.

I've been in the gal's shoes...thankfully without the RR tracks. Sat there watching them search  every crevice of my interior, and fully empty the contents of my trunk onto the pavement.....for nothing.    But when they perceive themselves to be on a mission, you (your personal needs and priorities) are relegated to 2nd class status...no doubt about it.  And telling them  there is nothing there to be found, only seems to alienate them.  Just an odd set of protocols in place in such instances. (fwiw)

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 7,626 posts
Posted by Euclid on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 10:57 AM

Convicted One

 

 
Euclid
I don’t see how this happened, situational awareness notwithstanding.   They left their squad car parked on the track, and were searching the suspect’s car.  I would assume that they were not far from their car when the train appeared.  Even if they failed to notice the train until they heard the horn being blown,

 

I am trying to be careful and not use verbiage that "pro-law enforcement" types might find offensive, so if this comes across as a little vague, you'll know why.  In the scenario the police were working their way through,  they frequently  have themselves so convinced they are "fighting the good fight",  that (other) real world complications  might be interpreted as a nuisance.

When seeking contraband is priority #1,  other stimuli can become extraneous noise.  They  may have heard the horns, but believed they were on a "higher mission" is my personal suspicion.

I've been in the gal's shoes...thankfully without the RR tracks. Sat there watching them search  every crevice of my interior, and fully empty the contents of my trunk onto the pavement.....for nothing.    But when they perceive themselves to be on a mission, you (your personal needs and priorities) are relegated to 2nd class status...no doubt about it.  And telling them  there is nothing there to be found, only seems to alienate them.  Just an odd set of protocols in place in such instances. (fwiw)

 

I can understand cops believing thier higher mission should override your telling them there is nothing there to be found.  But if they failed to prevent this collision because they were on a higher mission, they should have immediately changed their mission to protecting their captive passenger they left sitting on the railroad track.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Northern New York
  • 23,532 posts
Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 11:06 AM

Convicted One
I am trying to be careful and not use verbiage that "pro-law enforcement" types might find offensive, so if this comes across as a little vague, you'll know why.  In the scenario the police were working their way through,  they frequently  have themselves so convinced they are "fighting the good fight",  that (other) real world complications  might be interpreted as a nuisance.

Recall the fervor after 9/11, when many self-appointed protectors of the public good (including LEO's) challenged perfectly legal activities (like railfanning) and simply were not to be convinced otherwise.

Common practice for years has been to park behind the vehicle being stopped, preferably lighting up the vehicle (at night) with any lights available.  

It's possible the perp (recall that the police were looking for her) parked just beyond the crossing, albeit not intentionally.  

This still goes back to the officer not recognizing the potential hazard of where he parked.

For the record, my father and uncle were both LEO's and I often work with officers from various area agencies as a result of responses as a firefighter.  

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 4,461 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 11:13 AM

Euclid
But if they failed to prevent this collision because they were on a higher mission, they should have immediately changed their mission to protecting their captive passenger they left sitting on the railroad track.

There is an arrogance there, okay?  I don't want to beat that drum too hard, or some people will claim they are offended. But it's there. It's real.  THEY ARE THE AUTHORITY.... It might be relative, but they seem to fancy themselves infallible.  I've seen it  often enough to know that it's not the exception.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy