James Blue, of Orono, was charged with two murder counts in connection to a automobile accident that killed two young men.
Blue was charged Sept. 23 by the Hennepin County Attorney’s office with two counts of third-degree murder in the deaths of Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman, who were passengers in Blue’s Bentley when he allegedly crashed on July 24 on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive in Orono. In addition, Blue has four previous counts of negligent and drunken driving charges.
Blue previously was charged with two counts each of criminal vehicular operation with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more, and criminal vehicular homicide for operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
The third-degree murder charges carries a sentence of up to 25 years. Prosecutors have indicated with the court that they will seek longer than normal sentences in the case.
The updated charges also say that Motzko, the son of University of Minnesota head men’s hockey coach, had no alcohol in his system and that Schuneman had been drinking. In addition to those details, the charges reveal that Motzko and Schuneman had only met Blue an hour before the crash at a restaurant and were invited to Blue’s house by a mutual friend.
According to the initial criminal complaint, just before 11:30 p.m. on July 24, Orono Police responded to multiple 911 calls regarding a single car crash on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive in Orono. When they arrived, police found a 2017 Bentley Flying Spur in a wooded area adjacent to North Shore Drive.
The car suffered extensive damage, having uprooted a tree that was still on top of it when police arrived. The two adult males were still in seat belts, trapped inside the car, with Schuneman in the front passenger seat and Motzko in the backseat, the complaint states.
Police found Blue approximately 10 feet in front of the car, having been flung from the vehicle. He had suffered injuries but was conscious when officers found him. Blue repeatedly stated to officers that he was “sorry,” and admitted to drinking and being “guilty,” the complaint states.
A witness, who is also the sister of Motzko and the girlfriend of Schuneman, told police that they were at a small party at Blue’s home. Blue was showing the victims his Bentley and the witness advised them that it would be unsafe to go for a ride at that time.
Hospital staff found THC gummies in Blue’s pocket, along with crushed white pills and green capsules. Witnesses at the party later told officers Blue was taking shots of alcohol and had eaten THC gummies.
The lab results from Blue, the driver of the vehicle involved in the fatal crash, indicate a blood alcohol content of .175, more than twice over the legal limit. Data obtained from the vehicle’s airbag module indicated a speed of 94 - 99 mph seconds prior to the crash, the Orono Police Department said in a release last Friday afternoon.
Orono police officers were unable to conduct a field sobriety test at the scene because of Blue’s injuries, but a blood sample was taken from Blue at North Memorial about 1 a.m. Sunday, less than two hours after the crash.
Blue turned himself into the Orono police on Wednesday, July 28 on charges of criminal vehicular homicide. He was booked into the Hennepin County jail at 4:49 p.m. and later released just after 9 p.m. without posting bail and with charges pending further investigation.
Blue was briefly in jail before posting $500,000 cash bail. He was released without conditions.