A Ridgefield man was struck and killed on Interstate 5 near La Center Thursday night. Billy N. Griffith, 20, died after a northbound vehicle struck him at around 8:40 p.m. as he was attempting to cross I-5 from west to the east at milepost 17.3.
The crash closed northbound lanes of Interstate 5 for more than four hours as law enforcement officials detoured traffic from the scene. Investigators believe Griffith tried to cross the interstate roadway as he was headed home for the evening.
“Mr. Griffith actually lives near where he was crossing,” said WSP Trooper Will Finn. “It appeared he was attempting to cross over the freeway to get back home.”
Finn said no charges will be filed against the driver, Lili Shi, 25, of Irvine, Calif. Shi was pulled over shortly after the accident and was cooperative with the investigation, according to Finn.
“Initially this was reported as a hit and run collision, but that’s not the case,” Finn said.
Investigators believe other vehicles may have entered the scene immediately after the initial impact, possibly hitting Griffith again, Finn said. Anyone who was driving through the area at that time and thinks they may have hit something is asked to call the state patrol.
The northbound I-5 lanes were shut down immediately following the incident, and traffic was rerouted around the scene. Law enforcement officers from the state patrol and local police stations directed cars off the interstate at the La Center exit.
“Closing I-5 is a difficult task, and we are really appreciative of the help of La Center Police, Woodland Police and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office,” Finn said.
The Ilani casino also helped by opening their parking lot for commercial vehicles until the freeway reopened, Finn said.
“Once that happened it was night and day difference. At one point we were completely stopped...it made all the difference in the world to develop that plan,” Finn said.
I-5 was reopened around 1 a.m. Friday, Finn added.