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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey man to bike across Canada

Last minute decision to take Rajiv Dhaliwal on three-month journey

White Rock RCMP reviews street checks for racial bias

Report indicates checks are being conducted bias-free

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 11: B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance

Suspect in North Delta home invasion facing attempt murder charge

Blaine Robert Jackson, 37, of no fixed address, faces six charges in relation to this incident

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Fraser Valley loses the Keith Wilson Waver as Ron Hupper passes away

Hupper brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people traveling Chilliwack’s Keith Wilson Road

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read