Riverton man sentenced to prison for killing Pleasant Grove father after road rage incident
Nov 29, 2023, 6:11 AM
(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.
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.
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.