The Orono man charged in the crash that killed two young men, including the son of the University of Minnesota men's hockey coach, was charged Thursday with two murder counts in addition to four previous counts of negligent and drunken driving.
James D. Blue, 51, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of third-degree murder in the deaths of Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman, who were passengers in the Bentley that Blue is alleged to have driven at up to 99 miles per hour before crashing into a wooded area.
Third-degree murder is characterized as perpetrating an eminently dangerous act and evincing a depraved mind. It carries a sentence of up to 25 years, which is more than double the 10-year term of the other charges Blue faces. Prosecutors also already have filed notice with the court that they will seek a longer than normal sentence for Blue because of the nature of the alleged crime.
Blue previously was charged with two counts each of criminal vehicular operation with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more and criminal vehicular homicide for operating a vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
The crash occurred July 24 near Blue's home in the 3100 block of North Shore Drive after Blue drank shots of liquor and consumed THC gummies, according to criminal charges. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Blue was briefly in jail before posting $500,000 cash bail. He was released without conditions. Blue's lawyer, Fred Bruno, declined to comment on the additional charges.
The updated charges also revealed that Motzko, 20, and Schuneman, 24, had met Blue less than an hour before the crash. The two young men had been at a restaurant and were invited to Blue's home by a mutual friend, the charges said.
Motzko, 20, is the son of coach Bob Motzko. The charges said Mack Motzko had no alcohol in his blood. Schuneman had been drinking but was not driving that evening, the charges said.
Video evidence showed the Bentley initially went to the defendant's driveway before returning to the house and pulling out onto North Shore Drive. The complaint said Blue had "attempted to show off or impress the occupants with his vehicle."
Before driving off in the car, Blue said to the victims, "You guys need to live your life to the fullest because all of a sudden you blink and you're 40 one day," the new complaint said.
Previous interviews and the initial criminal complaint said Ella Motzko, Mack's older sister and Schuneman's girlfriend, reported the three had attended a party at Blue's house. Ella Motzko had urged the two men not to ride with Blue.
The previous charges indicated tests revealed Blue's blood-alcohol concentration was 0.175% after the crash. The latest document said the "standard extrapolation" would indicate his blood-alcohol concentration was approximately 0.20% at the time of the crash and that testing found THC in Blue's blood.
The investigation also revealed that the brakes were used 2.5 seconds before the crash on a curvy, tree-lined roadway with many obscured driveways and speed limits of 35 and 45 miles per hour.
On July 24, police were called to the crash site and found Blue's Bentley in a wooded area with a tree on top of it.
Schuneman was belted into the front passenger seat and dead at the scene. Motzko was trapped in the seat behind the driver and also wearing his seat belt. He later died from his injuries at the hospital.
Blue was ejected from the car and was found conscious and lying in some trees. He allegedly admitted to his guilt and was taken to a hospital.
Schuneman, who lived in Scottsdale, Ariz., was from Maple Grove and was home visiting friends and family.
Blue is next set to appear in court Oct. 6 at 10:45 a.m. in front of Judge Regina Chu.
Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747