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James Blue pleads guilty in crash that killed 2 in Orono

While Blue will not be sentenced until May 5, attorneys discussed a 90-month sentence for causing the deaths of Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko.

MINNEAPOLIS — The man behind the wheel in a violent crash that claimed the lives of Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman is admitting his guilt in a plea deal submitted Tuesday.

James Blue appeared in Hennepin County District Court, agreeing to plea guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more. In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors dropped four additional counts. 

Schuneman, 24, and Motzko, 20, were killed the night of July 24, 2021 when Blue crashed his new Bentley while giving the two young men a ride. In court Tuesday, the 52-year-old Blue admitted to Judge Regina Chu that he did shots of tequila and took a THC gummy before speeding out of his driveway and crashing into a grove of trees, killing Motzko and Schuneman. 

His blood alcohol level registered .22 at a local hospital. 

"The crash itself... it's my fault," Blue told Judge Chu. "I made the decision to get into the vehicle... I ended up in the hospital and two men died."

Defense attorney Fred Bruno walked Blue through the events of the evening, with the defendant admitting to numerous elements of the crime that led to his guilty plea. When Bruno asked him if a combination of intoxication and negligence led to the deaths of Schuneman and Motzko, Blue replied "yes sir." The defendant said despite lapses in memory about the events of that night, he has no doubts of his guilt. 

While Blue will not be officially sentenced until May 5, 2022, both prosecutors and Blue's defense team made statements on the record about a 90-month sentence, of which the defendant would serve 60 months, or five years. The rest of the sentence would be served under supervised release. 

Blue will also lose his right to own firearms, likely for the rest of his life, and surrender his voting rights as well. 

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