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Mortensen sentenced

Richard Allen Mortensen

WORTHINGTON -- Richard Allen Mortensen, 54, of Lake Wilson, landed a 42 month sentence earlier this week after Judge Jeffrey Flynn revoked a stay of execution during a recent probation violation hearing.

Mortensen was on probation in Nobles County for driving while impaired in 2005. He was arrested in September 2005 after driving a John Deere tractor from Lake Wilson to Worthington, finally stopping at McDonalds. At the time of his arrest, authorities found an open bottle of whiskey and Mortensen had a blood alcohol concentration of .23. His driving privileges had been revoked in 2003.

During the hearing on Monday, Mortensen admitted to two violations of the abstinence condition -- an incident involving an open bottle in Pipestone in September of this year, and an arrest in Lake Wilson in late October in which Mortensen allegedly assaulted an officer, threatened the officer and his family and refused to submit to chemical testing. Additionally, there was a report of a violation in November when he failed to serve an annual 30 day electronic home monitoring period as required by law and failed to pay his fine on time.

He pleaded guilty to one of the Murray County charges last week, admitting to the test refusal count. He faces sentencing on that charge Jan. 12 in Murray County District Court.

When asked last week by Judge David Christensen how many times he had been arrested for driving impaired, Mortensen said, "I don't know. I don't keep track."

Mortensen has an extensive history of arrests involving alcohol, including driving while impaired, open bottle, test refusal and furnishing alcohol to minors. Charges have been filed against him in Murray, Pipestone, Nobles, Lyon and Dakota-Hastings District Court in the past 20 years. He has also been arrested for property damage, assault, domestic abuse and disorderly conduct.

"Mr. Mortensen has one of the worst records of prior DWIs of anyone we have prosecuted over the past 15 years in Nobles County," stated Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore in an email. "His guilty plea in Murray County to a new felony DWI offense while on probation for the last felony DWI offense was a flagrant violation of his probation, which demonstrates that he is truly inimical to public safety and a prison sentence is necessary to keep him off the road after he has been drinking."

According to Moore, Mortensen will be required to serve 28 months in prison and will be on supervised release for 14 months, plus a special five year conditional release period that applies to people in his circumstances convicted of felony DWIs and imprisoned. He will get credit for 243 days previously served in this case, plus time spent in jail on the warrant issued for the probation revocation from Oct. 7 to the present. Moore said the jail credit is mandated by law.

As of Wednesday, Mortensen was still being held in the Nobles County Jail, awaiting his sentencing in Murray County.

Moore offered thanks to Murray County Deputy Brian Gass and Pipestone County Deputy Jeff Sanow for their help, and also to Bill Lemons from the Minnesota County Attorney's Association (MCAA). Lemons was a prosecutor in the Nobles County Attorney's Office when Mortensen went to trial in 2005, and helped Moore with some sentencing issues as part of his current job as Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor with the MCAA.

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