Posted Dec. 3, 2014 | Printed Dec. 1, 2014
Lawrence Manns | Staff Writer
One of Riverside City College’s most talented actors and musicians, Christian Griffith,19, died in a car accident in Hemet on Nov. 8. He was pronounced dead along with his friend from his alma mater, West Valley High School.
“It was his first year in Chamber Singers. He had a wonderful tenor voice,” RCC choir director John Byun said. “He was a great guy, and loved by everyone in choir.”
On Nov. 8, Griffith was traveling in an SUV with Andre Vega, a senior at West Valley, Norine Myers, Linda Rangel and Chloe Hess, the driver of the vehicle, along with one other person.
At around 11:15 p.m. the SUV approached Domenigoni Parkway in Hemet. Hess lost control of the vehicle. The SUV overturned and injured all six of the car’s occupants.
According to Lt. Eric Dickson of the Hemet Police, the vehicle was traveling above 65 miles per hour.
“The vehicle began swerving from side to side,” Lt. Eric Dickson wrote. “The vehicle rolled numerous times off the north edge of the roadway, and several people were ejected.”
All six of the vehicles occupants were taken to the hospital, where Griffith and Vega were pronounced dead. The others were stabilized.
Dickson does not believe alcohol or drug influence was a factor in the crash.
A day after the crash there was a memorial to honor Griffith and Vega, featuring the West Valley High School choir, a group he performed with when he was in high school. Over 500 people came out to honor the two with a candlelight vigil.
As well as performing with the choir in high school, he was also active in the theatre, playing the lead in “Les Miserables” and “The King and I.”
“He was a really good actor,” West Valley drama teacher Stacey Bailey said. “He probably would have gone on to do wonderful things.”
According to Bailey, he was a jokester and was the life of the party. Every day, he was full of life and joy. Griffith was also well respected and liked.
“He was really popular. I didn’t know him well, but he touched people with his musicals and was loved by everyone.” RCC student Chelsea Napier said. “That’s the hardest part about his passing. He won’t be there for us anymore.”
After graduating from high school, Griffith went to RCC to major in music and vocal performance. He made the highly selective chamber ensemble as a freshman. He had also won a multitude of vocal competitions.
“He was just a great member of this choir and will be missed a lot,” Byun said.