Molly Griffin thought about becoming a doctor, but switched to nursing instead to have more time to spend with family and friends, said her father, Doug Griffin. She earned her nursing degree from Fresno State last year, got a job and was already buying a home.
On Saturday night, Griffin took her best friend, Emily Krieghoff, to check out the Copper River Ranch community in northeast Fresno where her home was going to be. On the way out of the neighborhood, Griffin’s vehicle was hit by a suspected drunken driver who ran a red light on Friant Avenue at East Copper River Drive.
Griffin, 23, died at the scene. Krieghoff, also 23, was taken to Community Regional Medical Center with a lacerated aorta and a fractured hip. She underwent two surgeries on Sunday and is recovering, Doug Griffin said.
Fresno police identified the suspect as Hector Castillo-Pichardo, 23. He suffered minor injuries and was booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. His passenger, Oscar Felix, 32, of Fresno died at the hospital.
The Griffin family’s strong Christian faith is helping them get through the shock and grief of losing their daughter. Molly Griffin leaves behind her parents, Doug and Doris, an older brother, Joseph, and sister, Paige, who turns 10 in March.
“This is really hard on (Paige),” who was adopted from China in 2007, Doug Griffin said. Molly Griffin “was instrumental in our family going to China and adopting an orphan girl.”
“She just loved kids. She volunteered with kids in our children’s ministry,” he said. “She wanted a little sister and God orchestrated something perfectly.”
The honors student graduated from Fresno Christian Schools and went on to Fresno State. She set aside thoughts of becoming a doctor, choosing nursing instead. She earned her nursing degree last spring and got her certification as a registered nurse at 22.
By the end of summer, she was working in the surgical department at Madera Community Hospital.
“She discovered she wanted to have a life,” he said. “Doctors don’t have much of a life. She wanted to have her own family and be able to enjoy that and be a mom and everything. She decided nursing was a better route for her.”
Molly Griffin was a big fan of the San Francisco 49ers and the Giants. She often attended games with her family and they all had a chance to go to the World Series last fall.
But what her father will remember most about his daughter is that she was a fun-loving girl.
“I think of the joy she brought everywhere she went,” Doug Griffin said. “She was a very compassionate person, very caring.”
Her colleagues at Madera Community say the same.
“The hospital staff has lost a beloved friend and professional colleague and are very saddened,” said Christine Watts-Johnson, assistant vice president of human resources. “She loved her patients and worked in the surgery department. Our prayers and thoughts are with her family and friends.”
The Griffins ask the community to pray for the other crash victims. They also have a message to share.
“We understand that Hector, the driver, was driving under the influence,” Doug Griffin said. “Our family forgives him. We are Christians and we are commanded to do that.”