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Man with history of DWI arrests gets caught again

SLAYTON -- A Lake Wilson man with a history of DWI and other convictions allegedly kicked and threatened a peace officer who had just arrested him for yet another driving while impaired crime.

Richard Allen Mortensen, 54, is charged in Murray County District Court with two counts of test refusal, terroristic threat, fourth-degree assault on a peace officer, driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety and open bottle.

The complaint states authorities were informed at about 2 p.m. Monday of a possible DWI -- that Mortensen was allegedly behind the wheel of a minivan in a parking lot in Lake Wilson and was very intoxicated.

As a deputy approached the parking lot, he was told by a concerned citizen that Mortensen had just driven away and could probably be found at the bar. The citizen described the same van the initial caller had described.

The deputy drove his squad car toward the bar and saw the suspect vehicle parked facing the bar. A male had just gotten out of the passenger seat, but when he saw the deputy, he got back in the van. As the deputy parked his squad car behind the van, he saw the driver, Mortensen, lean over toward the passenger.

The deputy approached Mortensen and asked what the two men were doing. He replied they were waiting for the female owner of the minivan to come out of the bar.

In his report, the deputy described Mortensen as "obviously intoxicated," with blood shot eyes, slurred speech and impaired balance. He was allegedly wearing a hat, a coat, a shirt, pajama bottoms and slippers.

Inside the van, the deputy could see two glass jars with Tostitos lids -- one between the two seats, the other by the passenger seat. Both jars contained what was later determined to be an alcoholic beverage.

When asked for his driver's license, Mortensen confirmed he did not have one, but told the deputy he was not driving. He allegedly said the owner of the van, who was in the bar, had driven.

The deputy checked inside with the bar manager, who said the woman had not been in the bar all day. Mortensen continued to insist the woman had been driving, but when the sheriff interviewed the man who had been in the passenger seat, the officers learned the woman was at work. Mortensen then said she had parked the van by the bar earlier in the day, and they were just waiting for her.

The deputy told Mortensen he knew he had been driving, but Mortensen then allegedly changed his story and said the other man had been driving. He refused to take the field sobriety tests, then refused to sit in the deputy's squad car.

When the other man joined Mortensen, the deputy and the sheriff, the deputy observed the two speak "drunken gibberish," then cheer about their friendship and "sticking together."

The deputy arrested Mortensen for driving under the influence, and transported him to the Murray County Sheriff's Office. During the transport, Mortensen allegedly threatened to sue the deputy, said he would "beat him to a bloody pulp," and then began to ask questions about whether or not the deputy had a wife and children. He allegedly said he would go after the deputy's family when he got out of jail.

Shortly before 4 p.m., they arrived at the law enforcement center and Mortensen was given an opportunity to consult an attorney, but had trouble using the phone books. He told the deputy the attorney he was trying to reach probably wouldn't answer because he thought it was after 7 p.m. He refused to take a breath test.

When arrangements were made for Mortensen to be transferred to Nobles County, the deputy opened the holding cell door and Mortensen allegedly started yelling and swearing. He sat in the squad car, but refused to put his feet inside. He then allegedly became combative and kicked the deputy in the leg, which another officer witnessed. The deputy had photos taken of the marks left on his leg by Mortensen's shoe.

The officer who transported Mortensen to Nobles County reported Mortensen threatened him and his family, and the arresting deputy. Mortensen lives within a mile from the officer, and allegedly said, "I haven't been hunting for awhile. When I get out, I will walk across the section hunting you."

Bail was set Wednesday at $25,000, but as of Thursday afternoon, Mortensen was still in the custody of the Nobles County Jail.

Mortensen has been charged with drinking related offenses in at least five counties in the past 20 years, along with accusations of disorderly conduct, assault, domestic abuse and test refusal. After most of his arrests in Minnesota, he has plea bargained his way out of the worst offenses, but in 2005 was convicted of two DWI and one driving after cancellation charge in Nobles County after driving a tractor from Lake Wilson to Worthington while intoxicated.

He was sentenced to 42 months in prison, stayed on the condition he serve a year in the Nobles County Jail. He appealed the conviction, but lost that appeal in May 2007. He is currently scheduled for a revocation hearing in Nobles County in less than two weeks on a probation violation for failing to pay his fines and failing to serve 30 days of home monitoring.