James Blue charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide
An Orono man, James Blue, 51, has been charged with four counts of criminal vehicular homicide for crashing his car while drunk, resulting in the deaths of two male passengers, who were 20 and 24-years-old, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Blue is expected to make his first appearance in the coming days.
According to the criminal complaint, just before 11:30 p.m. on July 24, Orono Police responded to multiple 911 calls regarding a single car crash on the 3100 block of North Shore Drive in Orono. When they arrived, police found a 2017 Bentley Flying Spur in a wooded area adjacent to North Shore Drive.
The car suffered extensive damage, having uprooted a tree that was still on top of it when police arrived. The two adult males were still in seatbelts, trapped inside the car, with the 24-year-old victim in the front passenger seat and the 20-year-old victim in the backseat, the complaint states.
The 24-year-old victim was dead when officers arrived. The 20-year-old victim died later at the hospital as a result of his injuries.
Police found Blue approximately 10 feet in front of the car, having been flung from the vehicle. He had suffered injuries but was conscious when officers found him. Blue repeatedly stated to officers that he was “sorry,” and admitted to drinking and being “guilty,” the complaint states.
A witness, who is also the sister of the 20-year-old victim and the boyfriend of the 24-year-old victim, told police that they were at a small party at Blue’s home. Blue was showing the victims his Bentley and the witness advised them that it would be unsafe to go for a ride at that time.
Hospital staff found THC gummies in Blue’s pocket, along with crushed up white pills and green capsules. Witnesses at the party later told officers Blue was taking shots of alcohol and had eaten THC gummies.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension analyzed a sample of Blue’s blood and found that his blood alcohol content was .175, more than twice the legal limit, the complaint states.
Preliminary analysis of the electronics from Blue’s Bentley indicate that he was driving between 94 and 99 mph when he crashed. The speed limit in that area ranges from 35 to 45 miles per hour.