VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 11 years in prison following a 2020 crash that killed an 18-year-old girl in Virginia Beach.
The call reporting the incident came in around 10:25 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2020, in the 3900 block of North Landing Road.
According to court documents, the driver, now-20-year-old Bryce Turner Marl, was driving an SUV over the North Landing Bridge onto North Landing Road when he left the roadway.
The vehicle then struck signboards, trees, and a wooden light pole before it overturned. The crash injured Marl and left his passenger, 18-year-old Arden Zuwallack, in a coma who later died at the hospital several days following the crash.
Marl pled guilty to a charge of aggravated involuntary manslaughter back on May 24 of this year. During his recent court hearing, a circuit court judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison with 9 years suspended. He will serve 11 years behind bars.
Court documents stated that at the time of the crash, a witness traveling opposite of Marl on North Landing Road estimated that Marl was traveling around 70 mph in an area where the speed limit was 35 mph.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they noticed that Marl appeared confused and smelled of alcohol. During a later search of the vehicle, authorities found several 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.
The victim, Arden Zuwallack, was flown to Norfolk General Hospital after sustaining several serious injuries. Reports say she suffered a lacerated liver, crushed pelvis, skull fracture, brain bleed, and was in a coma.
She never regained consciousness and later died at the hospital on August 13, 2020.
Following the crash, reports say Marl was sent to the hospital to be treated for his injuries, but he later signed himself out six hours later against medical advice. Officials say his blood alcohol content was 0.187 during this time, more than double the legal limit. Reports added that he also had THC in his system.
Marl later admitted to medical personnel that he had been drinking alcohol and smoking
marijuana. He admitted he had a habit of using marijuana and cocaine and drinking alcohol.
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.”
In a recorded phone call from jail, he admitted he had been driving drunk for over two years, including driving on the road where the crash occurred multiple times. He has a previous conviction for public intoxication.
His sentence of 11 years exceeds the recommendation from the Virginia State Sentencing Guidelines which called for a sentence of no more than 7 years and 8 months behind bars. Marl’s license has been suspended indefinitely.