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Confrontation with off duty police officer leads to a potential lawsuit

Summer scuffle in Crested Butte South

by Mark Reaman

The town of Mt. Crested Butte and its police department, the town of Crested Butte and its marshal’s office and Gunnison County and its sheriff’s office have received an official notice of claim that a local family is preparing to sue the government entities over an incident that took place last summer. Such notices of claim need to be filed within 180 of any incident. If ultimately filed, the family would be asking for $1.2 million in damages.

The alleged incident took place August 20 in Crested Butte South when Erica and James Young were followed in their car with their children by an off-duty Mt. Crested Butte police officer, Matt Halvorson, who claimed the car was being driven erratically.

When the police officer confronted the Youngs outside their home in Crested Butte South, it is alleged that James Young began yelling and attacking the officer. The off-duty officer called for back-up but in the meantime, the two men ended up in a scuffle.

In the Notice of Claim letter sent to the government entities by attorney George McLaughlin and dated February 8, the Youngs claim they were victims of outrageous conduct and have notified they may sue for $1.2 million. Both James and Erica, along with their two children, are filing the claim “for not less than $300,000 each.”

The claim states that as a result of the incident, James Young “sustained physical and emotional injuries, was wrongfully and unlawfully detained and imprisoned, suffered emotional distress…” Erica Young, the claim states, “was wrongfully detained and imprisoned, has suffered emotional distress, and has suffered other direct and indirect economic and noneconomic damages…” The letter states both children “suffered severe emotional distress.”

No suit has yet officially been filed.

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