Man sentenced to 4.5 years’ prison for fatal Surrey hit-and-run loses court appeal

It happened at ‘notoriously crime-ridden’ 135A Street strip in Whalley

A man sentenced to four and a half years in prison for killing a man with his pickup truck in Whalley along the 135A strip and failing to stop at the scene has lost an appeal of his convictions.

Christopher Lennox Edgar Griffith, 36, was convicted in 2017 of criminal negligence causing death and failing to stop at the scene of an accident after he struck and killed an innocent bystander while speeding away from a brewing confrontation.

Appeal Court Justice Gregory Fitch noted in his reasons for judgment, delivered at the Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver, that Griffith had been trying to “extricate himself” from a confrontation in the “notoriously crime-ridden” 135A Street strip, speeding in his Ford F-150 pickup truck through vacant, dimly lit grass lots, over a sidewalk and in the wrong direction on a one-way street.

“In doing so, he struck and killed Robert Patterson, a 50-year-old pedestrian who played no role in the confrontation but was attracted to the area by shouting and the sound of the appellant revving the truck’s engine.”

This happened on Aug. 16, 2013. The court heard Griffith had been drinking in bars with a friend that evening and they left at about midnight to buy some drugs on the strip, with his friend driving the truck.

READ ALSO: Delta woman on hook for rollover crash after letting impaired man driver her rented car

READ ALSO: Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’s relative

Fitch noted that a prostitute approached Griffith as he was waiting in the passenger seat, they “struck a deal,” she got in and he drove a short distance to where an “agreed-upon sexual act was performed.”

After, she asked Griffith to drop her off in a parking lot next to the Royal Canadian Legion, on the northwest corner of 135A Street and 106th Avenue, where he resumed his wait for his friend.

Some men then gathered in front of the truck, yelling in their direction, and the prostitute told Griffith she owed them money.

She seemed afraid, so Griffith stepped out, told the men he didn’t want any problems, got a baseball bat from the back of the truck and put it on the dashboard. The court heard he concluded this was “probably not a good place to be” after one of the men picked up a metal pipe and another, a piece of wood.

The court heard the prostitute told him these guys were dangerous and that they should leave before they get killed.

As they approached, Griffith revved the engine in a bid to frighten them off, and noticed other people were blocking the north exit to 135A. By now the men were coming closer and holding their weapons in the air, in a menacing way.

In his attempt to escape, Griffith hit Paterson in a vacant lot, and the latter died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries.

Griffith testified he thought he’d hit a tree stump or rut and denied knowing that he hit Paterson, but the trial judge did not believe him.

After hitting Patterson, Griffith drove for about six blocks, parked, and loaned his phone to the prostitute so she could call a cab. Griffith was arrested roughly 80 minutes after the collision, about two blocks away from the collision scene.

Griffith appealed his convictions but Fitch dismissed the appeal, finding no error on the trial judge’s part.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Justice John Hunter concurred.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Heritage Surrey launches time-lapse mapping tool

It matches local historical images to modern-day locations

UPDATE: Delta man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Surrey RCMP asks for public’s help finding missing 52-year-old

Police say William Michaels last seen on Feb. 19

Private school for hockey players pitched for Surrey’s Excellent Ice arena

Lark Group draws up expansion plan for facility built and operated by the Surrey company since 1999

White Rock to review tower heights in town centre

City voted Thursday to include the town centre in its official community plan review

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

Two boys saved after falling through ice in Coquitlam

RCMP say a Good Samaritan pulled the kids to safety

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Most Read

l -->