Lawsuit filed in Independence Pass hostage case

Jun 8, 2017

The vehicle that brought Brolin McConnel to the Pitkin County jail at the conclusion of last summer's stand off.
Credit Jordan Curet, Aspen Daily News

The three young men held at gunpoint on Independence Pass last summer are now seeking restitution for the harm they say the incident caused.

A suit filed in Pitkin County district court yesterday states that Brian Buchanan, Mark Meredith and Blake Ramelb have suffered serious mental and physical injuries after being held hostage.


On July 27, Colorado Springs resident Brolin McConnell was arrested after an hours long armed standoff with the plaintiffs along the Lincoln Creek road. McConnell faces 15 felony charges in criminal court.


Details from the police report on the incident state that McConnell believed he was in a Truman Show-like scenario and that his life was in danger. Meredith and Buchanan first encountered McConnell as they were leaving the Lincoln Creek Campground. The area is about ten miles up Independence pass east of Aspen, where there is no cellular phone service. McConnell allegedly blocked their way with his truck and brandished two firearms. He ordered the men out of their car and told them to take their shirts off to make sure they were not hiding guns, according to the incident report. The two were able to escape when the third plaintiff - Ramelb - approached the scene and was also ordered out of his car by gunpoint.  


The three victims are represented by Ryan Kalamaya, whose extensive court filings claim that they  continue to experience various trauma due to the incident. The three were local residents and all had to take time off of work. They are claiming lost wages,  as well as future impairment of earning capacity. They are each also listed as requiring therapy for the ongoing stress, anxiety, and humiliation they felt. The suit describes Ramelb as experiencing hearing loss … due to how close a bullet whizzed past his ear. Since the incident, two of the victims have chosen to leave the valley and return to their home states.


The plaintiffs seek a jury trial for the case.