Darion Griffin: Family Mourns After Hit-And-Run Kills 2-Year-Old, Calls For Safer Roads

darion-griffin-fp.jpg
Courtesy of the Griffin family
Darion Griffin, two.
Two-year-old Darion Griffin adored Mickey Mouse, was a big fan of the movies Cars and Shrek, was always asking for his sippy cup and loved to eat grapes. His family will recall these kinds of details about the toddler today at his funeral service -- one week after a seventeen-year-old driver killed the little boy while speeding on a Spanish Lake road.

"I just miss him so much," Melinda Griffin Zimmerman, Darion's grandmother, tells Daily RFT. "My son, [the boy's father], just doesn't know what to do with himself. This is still a shock."

As grieving family members try to make sense of the tragic death, they agree that county officials need to make the streets, and particularly this intersection, safer for children -- and the hit-and-run driver needs to pay for his actions.

See also:
- Hit-And-Run Suspect That Killed Darion Griffin, 2, Confesses: "I Was Scared"
- Hit-and-Run: William Gallagher Fled Cops, Crashed Car, Killed Woman, 87
- St. Louis Cops Arrest Hit-And-Run Driver Who Hit Pregnant Mom, 6-Year-Old

The family is also accepting donations through a trust fund with First Community Credit Union under the name "Darion Griffin Fund." People can give at any of the local branches and can call 636-728-3333 for more information, the family says.

darion-griffin-2.jpg
Courtesy of the family
Darion Griffin.

As we reported last week, on Sunday night just after 8 p.m., a driver in an SUV crashed into the young boy on Bellefontaine Road in Spanish Lake. The toddler, his family says, was trying to cross the street to play with a six-year-old relative and was struck by the speeding vehicle. His seventeen-year-old aunt who tried to rescue him was also hit. She is recovering physically, but is still trying to process the horrific accident, his family says.

The driver, seventeen-year-old Charles Guice, sped off after the fatal crash -- but later turned himself in to St. Louis county police, officials say. In his confession, he reportedly told cops, "The reason I left was because I was scared." Police say he did not have a valid license.

Guice is charged with a class D felony of leaving the scene of accident and his bond was set at $50,000.

darion-griffin-photo-1.jpg
Courtesy of the family
Darion Griffin.

Darion, who was at the home of his grandmother on his mother's side at the time of the incident, was pronounced dead at the hospital on Sunday evening.

The funeral services are today.

"He should've stopped," Zimmerman says of the suspect. "I'm just so outraged that he didn't stop. If he just would've stopped, [Darion] would've been hurt, but he probably wouldn't have lost his life. But he decided to keep going."

She adds, "He was two years old. He was just so small."

If Guice only gets a few years behind bars for leaving the accident, "That is just not enough for taking a life," Zimmerman says. "This is a child who is dead."

Even if the driver is a teenager, she says, "I still think they should take responsibility for their actions."

The family is also calling for increased safety measures at the intersection -- more speed bumps, stop signs, signs warning of children playing or anything that could help reduce the risk of a crash.

darion-griffin-5.jpg
Courtesy of the family
Darion Griffin.

"So this won't happy to any other family," Zimmerman says.

Darion was an only child.

Darion's mother, LaShay Goree, 21, says the driver needs to be charged with manslaughter. "He took an innocent two-year-old.... I am not going to let it go until he gets what he needs to get."

"I just want justice. That's all," she says, later adding, "It's been very, very hard."

Continue for more from the family and for response from county officials.


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18 comments
lucid_dream
lucid_dream

I'm sorry, but does anyone even read the story before commenting? Why is everyone blaming the parents? You all should ashamed of yourselves. He was visiting his grandmother, his parents might have not even been there. I'm also not seeing where it says he was unsupervised. In fact, if he was playing outside unsupervised, how did his seventeen year old aunt get hit as well? This young man should NOT have been speeding in a residential area and although I understand he was scared, had he stopped he may have been able to help the boy. Unless the parents were inside while the boy was outside running around alone (which doesn't seem to be the case) I see no reason to blame them. They are suffering enough.

Jerepa
Jerepa

Why was a two year old anywhere near a street without an adult holding his hand to begin with. Maybe I was just a really overprotective mother and babysitter but I never let my child or any child I was watching get close to the road. Heck, I've stopped small kids from getting in the street and I didn't even know them. The driver is at fault but so is the person that should have been supervising the child to an extent. That being said, R.I.P. Darion!!

hmggreer
hmggreer

I understand how the driver did not hit the young boy on purpose, but he fled from the scene. He did in fact play out a 'hit-and-run' yet it wasn't on purpose. However there's alot of small things that where never mentioned (at least in this article) such as the crosswalk light, the young boys supervision, ect. This doesn't change anything because the case is already closed. I hope the best for the young boys family, and the driver who was involed in this horrific tragedy.

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

I think this is an absolute tragedy for everyone involved. A kid is dead already we dont need to ruin another kids life in the process. This teen driver will b haunted the rest of his life over this. He deserves to be punished, but it should not be excessive. Nothing will bring bacl that precious little boy. The teen should not be eligible for a drivers license until 21 years of age. He should also recieve probation until then. He should also be required to get some counceling.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

i guess a lot of ppl here have never looked after small children and do not realise that yes, they at times, dart into the street. that's how come there are SIGNS posted in RESIDENTIAL neighbourhoods to slow down b/c there are children in the area! omg, that's how come the speed limit is 20 - 25 mph on the side roads, you buncha flippin idiots! do you never look out your windows on a summer's evening and see kids riding bikes and playng tag or w/e in the STREETS. morons.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

he was playing outside supervised by his aunt, who was also struck while trying to chase him down and stop him.

Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano
Andee Rose Shymama Gagliano

he was playing outside supervised by his aunt, who was also struck while trying to chase him down and stop him.

Chris DiMercurio
Chris DiMercurio

I mean the driver did turn himself in... Not like they had to go looking for him. Why the out cry for justice? It was an accident and a teenage driver got scared... Not a "justice" worthy situation.

Mark David Simpkins
Mark David Simpkins

The accident was just that ,an accident. The crime was in fleeing and failure to lend aid. Assuming the driver didn't flee for others reasons, the parents are the ones that need a brush with the criminal justices system.

Blake Harris
Blake Harris

Make him pay a dollar a month for the next 20 years so he doesn't forget.. And that goes for the parents too, if he had proper supervision he would be alive.

Hippie Granny
Hippie Granny

Why are you assuming he wasn't being watched? Did you read the article. I did and there was no indication in it that he was on his own.

Sarah Spaulding
Sarah Spaulding

Oh good. Other people already went there. The parents let a 2 year old cross the street at night alone?!?!?! They are fucking stupid. Because of 3 minutes of lack of adult supervision a 2 year old is gone, the aunt is traumatized and injured, and the kid driving has that to think about forever. Way to go.

Kristen Taylor
Kristen Taylor

I agree, why should the driver be the only one punished, pay attention to your fucking kids and care enough to keep them out of the street. I'm sure the teen is scarred for life too.

notforgiving
notforgiving

@Randy WitheightAs its impossible for a parentfail as you call it, when the child wasn't with either parent! See how you feel if one of your family members were hit by a car speeding down the street, while they were out playing with friends and family. Your pathetic 

notforgiving
notforgiving

@Kristen Taylor the driver should be punished because at the end of the day he was speeding down a residential road and in return took someones life. So a manslaughter charge should be placed. Now once they continue investigating and they feel the supervising adult is also at fault then she should also be charged accordingly. But for no one to be charged at all is ridiculous, Darion was my younger cousin and everyone cared enough about him!! Every child in any neighborhood has the right to play on there block, because i'm sure you have before. And for those who live in saint louis you all should know damn well it is the summer time and its not even a bit of dark at 8 oclock!!! 

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