BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County District Attorney’s Office said that on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, a man was arrested on charges of murder and DUI connected to the death of Arvin teacher Larry Hallum in February 2023.
The charges against Marque Joaquine Qualls are murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while drunk, and assault with a dangerous weapon.
On February 15, 2023, at the intersection of White Lane and Old River Road, the DA’s office said that Qualls drove drunk and “at full speed through a red light, made no effort to slow down or stop, and intentionally caused a crash with a car driven by Larry Hallum.”
After weeks of care, Larry Hallum died in April. Hallum worked at Arvin High School for 40 years.
The Superior Court issued an arrest warrant for Qualls, which was served by investigators from the Kern County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.
On Friday, May 19, Qualls will be told what charges he will face. He is now being held in the Kern County Jail. The Kern County Index says that his bail is set at $1 million.
In the past few years, there have been a lot of DUI charges in Kern County. The California DMV says that there were 4,000 DUI arrests in the county in 2019.
Tanya Alsheikh is an attorney at Chain Cohn Clark. She said that her company sees a lot of DUI cases.
Alsheikh said, “DUI car accidents are by far the worst of all the accidents we’ve seen.” “Not only are you dealing with a physical trauma, but you are also dealing with an emotional trauma.”
The BPD is calling the crash an “intentional act.”
Alsheikh also said that she doesn’t think of crashes as things that happen by chance.
“It’s not a mistake. “That person is choosing to put other people’s lives in danger,” she said.
“They get behind the wheel even though they know that alcohol, drugs, and other substances affect how their brain works and their ability to make decisions while driving,” she said.
Alsheikh said that there are at least 15 drunk drivers on the road at any given time during the day. Between midnight and 3 a.m., which are peak hours, there are 80 more cars.
She said it was easy to just call a taxi service to avoid driving drunk and making a mistake that will affect you and other people for the rest of your lives.
Before you get behind the wheel of a car, the choices you make could affect someone for the rest of their lives. We see a lot of young children who will never be able to walk again, who have brain injuries, who have lost their parents, or who have lost a kid because someone made that choice.