May 222013


By Kristin Zachary

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

An ECU student killed on Monday in an Arlington Boulevard wreck had written to a professor on Friday that she was happy and excited about her future.

One of 19 accounting students asked to introduce themselves in a one-page biography, Elizabeth Griffiths began: “The most important thing to know is that I am such a happy, energetic and passionate person.”

The 20-year-old’s assignment was submitted just three days before her vehicle was struck nearly head-on by a hydroplaning pickup truck, requiring rescue personnel to extricate her from the mangled car.

Griffiths and her classmates started intermediate accounting last week with Cal Christian, an associate professor who requests each student share a little about themselves in a one-page introduction.

Christian said he began reading the statements when he received them on Friday and was responding to each student. On Monday, he had about five left.

“She was the very next person when I got notice of what happened,” Christian said. “It was a rough day.”

He shared Griffiths’ biography with The Daily Reflector on Tuesday so people could know the bright spirit of a woman “too young to be gone.”

Griffiths was eastbound on Arlington Boulevard during a period of steady rain about 1:30 p.m. on Monday when a westbound Ford F-250 hydroplaned in standing water and its driver lost control near Red Banks Road.

The truck, driven by 17-year-old Mitchell Wilkerson of Grimesland, veered into Griffiths’ lane and crashed into her Honda Accord nearly head-on. The left side of the car was smashed in from the headlights past the driver door. Police said debris from the crash was spread over a wide area, covering all five lanes of the road.

Police said Wilkerson exited the truck and attempted to help Griffiths. Greenville Fire-Rescue personnel worked to extricate her and rush her to Vidant Medical Center, where she later was pronounced dead.

The teenage driver was transported to Vidant with serious injuries, but police said his condition was not life-threatening. Officials reported rain and speed appear to be factors in the crash.

Police said Monday no further information about the crash would be released until an investigation was complete. There was no word on charges Monday afternoon.

Griffiths of Raleigh was a 2010 graduate of Garner Magnet High School, according to a school publication. She enrolled at ECU in 2010 and was an accounting major in the College of Business, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Five days into her summer class, Griffiths already had made an impression.

“While I have had a lot of students that I have gotten to know really well, in just five days, Elizabeth has left her mark on me,” Christian said. “I will definitely be more intentional in each class I teach and will make sure that every student understands the impact they can have on each other and their community.”

He read Griffiths’ biography on Tuesday to her 18 classmates.

“What’s amazing at 20 is, the world is in front of them,” Christian said.

So many young people take life for granted or fail to understand the importance of hard work, but not Griffiths, Christian said.

“I am happy with my decision to be in the College of Business,” Griffiths wrote, closing her one-page biography, “I feel like this was the right move for me to make. I joined Alpha Kappa Psi, the business fraternity, and have met a lot of amazing people who mean the world to me.

“I am excited to see where this takes me in life,” she said, “I’m sure it’ll be someplace wonderful.”

Christian’s voice caught as he read those last words.

Most important now, he said, is that Griffiths be remembered for her “contagious, vivacious and excited” personality and her hope for all those around her to be just as happy.

Contact Kristin Zachary at and 252-329-9566. Follow her on Twitter @kzacharygdr.

via The Daily Reflector.


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