Criminal vehicular homicide charges expected against man accused in crash that killed Motzko, Schuneman

James David Blue, 51, of Orono, Minn., was driver in crash that killed Sam Schuneman and Mack Motzko, police say.

Yellow spray paint marked the tire tracks leading to a grove of trees where a fatal car accident claimed the lives of Mack Motzko, 20, and Sam Schuneman, 24, on the night of Saturday, July 24, 2021. Jess Myers / The Rink Live

ORONO, Minn. -- The driver accused in the late-night crash that killed two men with deep ties to the Minnesota hockey community has turned himself in to police.

James David Blue, 51, is being held in the Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular homicide, according to the county's online inmate search.

On Wednesday afternoon, July 28, Blue appeared at the Orono Police Department, where he was arrested at 4:49 p.m. on probable cause for two counts of criminal vehicular homicide. According to state law, he will appear before a judge before noon on Friday. The judge will determine whether he will be allowed to post bail, and if so, for what amount.

Sam Schuneman, 24, died Saturday night at the scene of an accident on North Shore Drive in Orono, near Lake Minnetonka. Mack Motzko, 20, was transported to North Memorial Medical Center, where he later died. The accident happened when a car driven by Blue, 51, went off the road at a high rate of speed and struck a group of trees, according to police.

Originally from the Twin Cities, Schuneman had attended Minnesota State University in Mankato and had moved to the Phoenix area. He returned to Minnesota often and had been visiting friends this month. He was scheduled to fly to Phoenix last Friday, but moved the return flight to Sunday morning to spend another day with friends.


While friends said Schuneman was primarily a backyard pond hockey player, his father, Tom, is the chair of the Minnesota Special Hockey Board, which promotes the sport for people with special needs.

Motzko, the oldest son of Minnesota Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko, had split time in junior hockey between teams in South Dakota and New Mexico last winter. He had plans to play for a team in British Columbia in the coming season. He had strong ties to the St. Cloud hockey community -- his father had previously been the head coach for the St. Cloud State men's team -- and played three seasons for St. Cloud Cathedral High School, helping the Crusaders earn two third-place finishes in the state Class A tournament.

At 11:47 p.m. on Saturday night, Orono police reported a fatal accident at the intersection of North Shore Drive and Bohns Point Road. The initial report had one person deceased at the scene and two others with serious injuries. A previous police release said they were responding to a single-vehicle accident at 3120 North Shore Drive in Orono. A vehicle traveling at high speed left the road and struck several trees.

Schuneman was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle and Motzko was in the back seat.

According to friends of Schuneman who were with him and Motzko on Saturday night, Blue hosted a party at his house, just a few doors down from the site of the accident, and offered the men a ride in a Bentley, which crashed on the return trip. Blue's personal Facebook page, which on Monday showed pictures taken from his home on the lake, appears to have been deleted. The Orono police press release noted that alcohol and speed appear to be contributing factors in the crash, and the case remains under investigation.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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