Riverton man sentenced to prison for killing Pleasant Grove father after road rage incident

Nov 29, 2023, 6:11 AM

A Pleasant Grove man was shot and killed following what police say was a road rage incident that be...

A Pleasant Grove man was shot and killed following what police say was a road rage incident that began on I-15 and ended at 160 West and 10600 South in Sandy on Oct. 26, 2022. The gunman was sentenced Tuesday for manslaughter. (Mark Wetzel, KSL TV)

(Mark Wetzel, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Just over one year ago, a Pleasant Grove man was shot and killed after a road rage incident that began on I-15 in Sandy. The gunman who shot him was sentenced Tuesday to one to 15 years in prison.

Third District Judge Randall Skanchy sentenced Rodrigo Andres Monroy, 33 — who has admitted to killing 42-year-old Chris Mortensen — to the prison term for the charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.

At the sentencing hearing, Hallee Mortensen told the court how her dad was her best friend.

“He was such a kind, amazing person, and you would never see him go and get into a fight for no reason,” she said.

About a week before he died, Hallee said her father told her he would be at her side, saying, “It’s you and me against the world.”

“I continue to feel him by my side every day,” she said.

‘Nothing stopped him from leaving’

On the morning of Oct. 26, 2022, Chris Mortensen was shot and killed during an argument with Monroy after charging documents say the two were involved in a brake-checking incident and then got off the freeway together.

The documents say a witness told police Monroy cut off Mortensen’s vehicle more than once and would not let him pass, and when they got off the freeway at 10600 South they stopped at a gas station. Mortensen approached Monroy’s vehicle, slapped the windshield with his hand, and then Monroy pulled out a gun, the charges say.

Charges said Monroy said Mortensen had tried to disarm him but admitted that he had control of the handgun when he fired it. A passenger in Mortensen’s truck told police Mortenson was backing away when he was shot.

The scene at a gas station in Sandy on Oct. 26, 2022, after Chris Mortensen was shot. A Riverton man was sentenced to prison on Tuesday for manslaughter after admitting to causing Mortensen’s death. (Photo: Brian Olsen)

Deputy Salt Lake County attorney Vincent Meister said Monroy initiated the situation. The attorney said Monroy sped past Mortensen’s vehicle to brake check him because he believed he was driving inappropriately; and when Mortensen tried to go around him, he cut off another car, leading Mortensen to believe he was putting people in danger.

“Nothing stopped him from leaving the situation if he was truly in fear,” Meister said.

He said Monroy knew Mortensen was not armed, and that he introduced a firearm when there was no need for deadly force and no threat of injury.

Victim’s family

Nicole Mortensen, Chris Mortensen’s wife, also spoke at Tuesday’s hearing. She said her husband was a good man and was always there for her, and she talked about how he got his daughters ready for school after the couple lost a daughter and she was unable to function well.

“He literally had no enemies. He was fun and funny and sweet,” Nicole Mortensen said.

She said her husband is a problem solver and a protector, and that she believes he got involved in the incident because he thought a woman was in danger on the freeway because of the way Monroy was driving. Nicole Mortensen said Monroy’s reaction should not have happened, and she told the judge she thinks Monroy should go to prison.

Jamie Knight, Chris Mortensen’s sister, said the phrase “never met a stranger” was a good representation of her brother, who seemed to be friends with everyone.

She said if Monroy had given her brother a few seconds to speak before pulling out a gun, she believes they would have become friends. She expressed that she thinks her brother was protecting others when he reached for the gun.

“He took that bullet so that nobody else had to,” she said.

Tragic ‘all around’

Monroy’s attorney, Adam Crayk, asked the judge for five years of probation instead of a prison sentence. He said either party could have walked away at any point. He said it is a hard case — that is tragic “all around.”

“It’s just a laundry list of horribles,” he said.

Crayk said both sides are losing a family member; Monroy, a legal immigrant, is facing deportation since he has been found guilty of taking a life.

“He’s simply somebody that go involved in an altercation that went terribly awry,” Crayk said.

Monroy said at his sentencing that he reacted, and his fight or flight mode kicked in. He said if he could go back and just not leave the house that day he would.

“I regret that day every moment of my life. I relive it every day. I want to say I’m sorry for even getting off the freeway, for reacting with fear,” he said.

Monroy asked for mercy, from the judge, Mortensen’s family and from the Lord.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

As the push to the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate heats up, Brad Wilson appears to be ...

Daniel Woodruff

Brad Wilson appears to be pulling back in U.S. Senate race

As the push to the Republican primary election for U.S. Senate heats up, one candidate appears to be slowing down

13 minutes ago

green rows of tomato plants...

Mike Anderson

Iceland facilities excite Utah delegation about geothermal possibilities

Some state leaders are learning how small geothermal plants could power communities of the future here in Utah. With access to geothermal water from the ground, there is a lot that can be done.

26 minutes ago

Officials urge people to stay away from high-running waters, and to implement systems to avoid floo...

Shelby Lofton

Safety and flood warnings near rivers, reservoirs hit capacity

Heavy snow two years in a row left reservoirs filled to the brim. Now, high temperatures are making rivers more active than usual. Here is how you can keep your home and family safe this summer.

47 minutes ago

Signs advertising fresh fruit and vegetables along Box Elder County's Fruit Way along Highway 89....

Alex Cabrero

Utah farmers say a strong winter has led to an amazing crop season

Fruit and vegetable farmers in northern Utah are saying this crop season might be one of the best in recent memory.

48 minutes ago

Former President Donald Trump gestures after speaking during the North Carolina Republican Party Co...

Samuel Benson, Deseret News

Poll: Trump leads big among Utah voters; Biden, Kennedy tied

After viewing both Trump and Biden unfavorably in August, most Utahns now see Trump favorably

2 hours ago

Temperatures officially hit 100 degrees in Salt Lake City Thursday for the first time this year, wh...

Lindsay Aerts

Salt Lake sees first 100-degree day, here’s how it’s measured

Temperatures officially hit 100 degrees in Salt Lake City Thursday for the first time this year. The measuring of the temperature isn’t as cut and dry as you might think.

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Riverton man sentenced to prison for killing Pleasant Grove father after road rage incident