Aug 08, 2020

Fresno State grad Molly Griffin was full of passion

By Tomas Kassahun and Diana Giraldo

Friends and family of Molly Griffin remember her passion in nursing and compassion for others.

Griffin, 23, graduated from Fresno State in May with a degree in nursing and was working as a surgery nurse at Madera Community Hospital. She was about to be a homeowner.

On Saturday night, as Griffin and a friend were driving back from visiting a northeast Fresno house she planned on buying, a suspected drunk driver ran a red light, causing a collision that killed her and another passenger.

Police said the suspect was heading north on Friant Road when he collided with Griffin’s white Acura SUV as she was turning left off East Copper River Drive. Griffin died at the scene.

As a nursing student at Fresno State, Griffin was actively involved as a member of the California Student Nursing Association and stood out among her peers. Griffin graduated magna cum laude.

“Through externships at multiple hospitals, Molly demonstrated the compassion and commitment it takes to care for one sick and in need of expert nursing care,” the Griffin family said in a written statement. “These are very impressive professional milestones for anyone to achieve at such a young age.”

The Griffin family is establishing a scholarship in her name. The Molly Taylor Griffin Nursing Scholarship at Fresno State will serve undergraduate students.

Nursing was a passion Griffin displayed proudly on social media. On July 8, the day she received her Registered Nurse license, Griffin posted on Facebook, “It’s official. I’m a nurse!!”

An August post on Instagram shows Griffin and a friend smiling, dressed in green scrubs and surgical caps. “One month as nurses already :) #babynurses #lovewhatido.”

“Molly loved nursing,” said Dana Zupanovich Lucka, director of development for the College of Health and Human Services. “The family wanted to honor her in that way by the scholarship.”

Lucka said the Griffin family was “very interested in paying it forward.”

Lucka said the scholarship will have a positive impact on the school’s nursing program.

“It’s just really important because tuition is going up, and the cost of education is rising,”  Lucka added. “Scholarships are vitally important, and they make the difference.”

When she passed away Saturday night, Griffin and her friend, Emily Krieghoff, were returning from the new home Griffin planned to buy at the Copper River Ranch community in northeast Fresno.

The suspect, Hector Castillo-Pichardo, 23, suffered minor injuries. He was booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. His passenger, Oscar Felix, 32, a father of three from Fresno, died at Community Regional Medical Center.

Krieghoff, 23, suffered a lacerated aorta and a fractured hip.

The Griffin family said they forgive Castillo-Pichardo.

In lieu of flowers, the Griffin family is asking for donations to be made to the Molly Taylor Griffin Nursing Scholarship at Fresno State. Checks should be made payable to the Fresno State Foundation and mailed to 2345 E. San Ramon, M/S MH26, Fresno, CA 93740. Donors may also contribute online at Mark “Other” and enter “Molly Taylor Griffin Scholarship.”

Memorial services will be held at Clovis Hills Community Church at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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