Man sentenced in Orono crash that killed Mack Motzko, Sam Schuneman

James Blue appears in court for sentencing in front of Judge Regina Chu. (FOX 9)

The drunk driver involved in the deadly wreck that killed two young men in Orono, Minn. last summer was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday afternoon.

James Blue, 52, took a surprise plea deal last month in the crash that killed Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko, the son of Minnesota Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko. Blue pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide, while two counts of third-degree murder were dropped. The plea deal significantly lowered the length of prison time he faced had he gone to trial.

He was sentenced to 7.5 years total with the plea deal. Under state law, Blue would serve two-thirds of his sentence, five years, in prison presuming good behavior. The rest will be under some type of supervised release.

Upon sentencing, Blue will be turned over to the Department of Corrections, which will determine where he will serve his prison time. Leading into sentencing, he had been out of custody since posting a $500,000 bond last August.

The deadly crash

Motzko, 20, and Schuneman, 24, were passengers in Blue’s Bentley when it went off the road on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive around 11:30 p.m. on July 24. Police said Blue’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. 

sam schuneman mack motzko

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

Investigators said 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, near his Lake Minnetonka mansion, is also curvy and lined with trees.

Blue was found injured, but conscious, lying near the extremely damaged vehicle with an uprooted tree on top of it. Schuneman and Motzko were still inside the vehicle. 

According to prosecutors and the police, Blue apologized at the scene while admitting to drinking alcohol before driving. He later admitted eating THC gummies as well. 

All three were taken to the hospital in critical condition after the crash, where the 20-year-old and 24-year-old were later pronounced dead.