Plea deal for James Blue in crash that killed Mack Motzko, Sam Schuneman

The drunk driver involved in the deadly wreck that killed two young men in Orono, Minn. last July has taken a plea deal that is expected to give him a sentence of more than seven years in prison.

In a court hearing Tuesday afternoon, James Blue, 51, pled guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide in the crash that killed Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko, the son of Minnesota Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

As part of the plea deal, two counts of third-degree murder were dropped, significantly lowering the length of his sentencing. The third-degree murder charges dropped could have gone as high as 25 years.

The deadly crash happened around 11:30 p.m. on July 24. Prosecutors say Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman were passengers in Blue's Bentley when it went off the road on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive.

sam schuneman mack motzko

Sam Schuneman (left) and Mack Motzko (right) were killed in a crash in Orono on July 24, 2021.  (FOX 9)

According to the charges, when first responders got on scene, they found the vehicle was extremely damaged and had uprooted a tree that was lying on top of it. Motzko and Schuneman were both still inside the vehicle and Blue was lying 10 feet in front of the vehicle after apparently being ejected.

Blue was injured but conscious. Prosecutors say he admitted to drinking while apologizing and saying he was "guilty." Police say Blue's blood alcohol content level was more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. Police say Blue also admitted to taking shots of alcohol and eating the THC gummies.

A witness told officers that the victims had been at a party at Blue's home and he had decided to take Motzko and Schuneman for a ride to show off his Bentley–despite the witness telling Blue it wasn't safe to do so.

Investigators say Blue had been driving between 94 and 99 mph in an area with speed limits between 35 and 45 mph when the crash occurred. The road is also curvy and lined with trees.