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The Orono man who was drunk behind the wheel of a Bentley when it crashed, killing Mack Motzko and Sam Schuneman last summer, has pleaded guilty ahead of trial.

The 20-year-old Motzko, the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko, and the 24-year-old Schuneman, died in the July 24 crash in a wooded area on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive in Orono.

James Blue, 51, had been charged with two counts of 3rd-degree murder, but at a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, it emerged he had agreed to a deal that has seen the murder charges dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to two counts of criminal vehicular homicide.

James Blue

James Blue

Per FOX 9's Paul Blume, he's now facing seven-and-a-half-years imprisonment.

A statement issued by Philip Sieff and Robert Bennett, the lawyers representing the Motzko and Schuneman families, said: "Today’s guilty plea by Mr. Blue is but the next step in achieving justice for Mack and Sam.

"While the families are relieved to avoid the trauma of a trial, they remain steadfastly committed to holding Mr. Blue accountable and securing full and complete justice for Mack and Sam. At this time, the families have no further comment.”

Reconstruction found that Blue was traveling as fast at 100 mph on curving roads in the lead-up to the crash. 

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Blue had a blood-alcohol concentration of approximately 0.20 when he was tested after the crash. The Minnesota limit is 0.08.

Marijuana gummies and "crushed up white pills and green capsules" were found by hospital staff in Blue's pocket, the complaint alleges. Witnesses also told police that Blue had eaten gummies and was taking shots of alcohol, according to charges.

Charges stated that Blue was "attempting to show off or impress" the two young men. Before taking them for the ride, Blue allegedly told Motzko and Schuneman, "You guys need to live your life to the fullest because all of a sudden you blink and you're 40 one day." 

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