Thomas Dale graduate, collegiate golfer, dies in overnight Chesterfield crash

Posted at 8:12 PM, Jul 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 23:58:10-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – A Thomas Dale High School graduate is dead after a car accident feet from his parent’s Chesterfield County home. Police say it happened in the 1900 block of Walthall Creek Drive, around 12:26 a.m. Monday, July 4.

The family of 21-year-old Griffin Clark says he was killed after his 2006 Nissan ran off the road, hit a brick retaining wall at the entrance of a driveway, and overturned.

Griffin was pronounced dead at the scene.


Griffin Clark (Middle)

Floral crosses were left at the scene of the accident Monday.

“If you knew Griffin you loved him and if you didn’t love him you didn’t know Griffin,” said Griffin’s dad Kenny Clark.

Ben Kidwell, a friend and coworker at the Country Club of Petersburg, where Clark's father is the Head Golf Professional, knew Clark roughly 10 years.

"Numbing I mean... it's not really... Something that you thought would happen,” he said of his loss

Kidwell was supposed to work with Clark at the club Monday morning.

One minute they are there the next minute they are not. I think anybody would struggle with that," he added.

Clark just completed his sophomore year at Saint Leo University in Florida where he was a member of the golf team.

1900 block of Walthall Creek Drive

1900 block of Walthall Creek Drive

His coach learned of the tragedy Monday morning.

“Don’t know that anybody could properly process it… When you get that kind of news it takes you a while to grasp it and understand it. The guys, they are obviously upset. Losing any team member is hard,” said Clark’s golf coach Chris Greenwood.

“I’m going to miss him every day, he’s a special kid, he was so much fun to be around and it was so much fun to see him gaining confidence and go out and be successful,” added Greenwood.

That success just came in May in the form of a National Championship win for Clark and his team. A first for Saint Leo, and a lifelong goal for Clark who has had a love for the links since he was a child.


Griffin Clark

“He was right there when it mattered and helped us do it,” said Greenwood. “I was really looking forward to seeing next year how much better he was and watching him grow based on the experience we had this spring because he was part of something truly special.

Clark's golf bio shows he believes being a team player is his best asset to the team.

"He's always a 'we' person instead of a 'me' person,” Kidwell said. “You know that's a tough trait to find these days."

Greenwood said it’s going to be difficult to not have Clark there, but he happy for the chance he had to get to know him.

Coach and Clark“I will always remember the good times and standing on the 18th fairway the final day standing next to him and watching him go take care of business and win the championship. I mean I’m going to remember that forever,” added Greenwood.

Clark's parents say he left at 8:30 Sunday night to go out and the next time they would see their son was behind accident police tape with more questions than answers.

"You have to cherish every moment you have with anyone. I think that's something that we forget,” said Kidwell. “We don't really realize that there may not be a next moment... Just appreciate those you have in your life."

Police have not released the cause of the crash.

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