Commonwealth v. Bryce Turner Marl; Underage Impaired Driver Kills 18-Year-Old Passenger, Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, announced today that Bryce Turner Marl, 20 years old, was sentenced yesterday by Circuit Court Judge James C. Lewis on a charge of Aggravated Involuntary Manslaughter.  Judge Lewis sentenced Marl to twenty (20) years in prison with nine (9) years suspended, leaving eleven (11) years to serve.  This sentence greatly exceeds the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines' recommendation, which called for a sentence of no more than seven (7) years and eight (8) months in prison.  His license is suspended indefinitely.

 
Marl pled guilty on May 24, 2021.  Had this matter gone to trial, the Commonwealth's evidence would have proven that on August 7, 2020, at approximately 10:24 p.m., Bryce Turner Marl was driving a Toyota 4Runner over the North Landing Bridge onto North Landing Road in Virginia Beach.  He left the roadway, struck signboards, trees, and a wooden light pole.  His 4Runner rolled, injuring Marl and killing his passenger. 

A witness, traveling the opposite direction of Marl on North Landing Road, estimated that Marl drove approximately 70 m.p.h. in an area where the speed limit was 35 m.p.h.  This witness reported that Marl's vehicle was traveling almost sideways and was on the wrong side of the two-lane road.  Marl nearly struck this witness immediately prior to the crash.  The witness made a U-turn, and he and his wife attempted to see if they could help Marl.  When the witness' wife heard a female voice coming from Marl's vehicle, she asked if there was anyone else in the vehicle who needed help.  Marl responded, "no, I am the only one." 

When rescue personnel responded to the scene, they found Marl in the driver's seat and Arden Zuwallack seat-belted into the front passenger seat.   Marl appeared confused and smelled of alcohol.  During a search of the vehicle, police found multiple Truly hard seltzer cans, a Truly Box, an empty Bud Light can, an empty Four Loko can, an opened vodka pink lemonade, a clear zip lock bag with marijuana residue, and two glass smoking devices. 

Marl was transported to Virginia Beach General Hospital and treated for injuries sustained during the crash.  Six hours later, he signed himself out of the hospital against medical advice.  Hospital staff drew his blood for treatment purposes.  The blood was later tested by the Department of Forensic Science and showed that his Blood Alcohol Content was .187.  This is more than double the legal limit of .08. Further, he had THC in his system which would have worsened his impairment.  He admitted to medical personnel that he had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.  When interviewed by police at the hospital, Marl stated that he did not remember the crash or how much he had to drink but stated that it was "not a terrible amount" because it was not enough to make him black out.  He admitted he had a habit of using marijuana and cocaine and drinking alcohol. In a recorded phone call from jail, he admitted he had been driving drunk for over two years, including driving on North Landing Road multiple times. 

The victim, age 18, was flown to Norfolk General Hospital for several serious injuries.  She suffered a lacerated liver, crushed pelvis, skull fracture, brain bleed, and was in a coma.  She never regained consciousness and was pronounced deceased at the hospital on August 13, 2020, at 10:30 p.m. 

Marl has a prior conviction for Public Intoxication.

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Shannon S. Dolida and Jason M. Kowalski prosecuted the case. Please contact Macie Allen if additional information is desired.