Family, friends remember crash victim Latoya Hoover

Published 12:05 am Monday, July 25, 2016

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Latoya Yvette Hoover was not the oldest of the four girls in her family, but sometimes she sure acted as if she was, said her big sister, Olympia Hoover.

Latoya, 32, whom everyone called Toya, was two years younger than Olympia, who is the oldest.

“Any time there was any type of emergency or any time I had a problem, she was the only person I could talk to,” Olympia said. “She’s my best friend. She was the only person that could calm me when I was upset.”

Latoya was killed Thursday in a two-vehicle crash on Sherrills Ford Road. The mother of two died at the scene.

Sgt. G.A. Barger with the N.C. Highway Patrol said Hoover was traveling west on Sherrills Ford Road near Long Branch Road when she ran off the road to her right. She overcorrected and collided with a Hertz tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction.

It’s not clear what caused her to leave the road. It does not appear that the crash was a result of Hoover being tired, friends have said.

At the time of the accident, Latoya Hoover was going to the Hyatt Hotel in Mooresville where she worked. She’d been employed there only a couple of months, Olympia said, and before that she worked at Gildan.

“She was a funny person, had a good heart. She would give anybody anything she had,” Olympia said.

She said her sister had the biggest smile and the prettiest dimples — “she was a ray of sunlight.”

Latoya Hoover had a 9-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter. Mom Lisa Hoover said her daughter loved her children very much and always put them first.

Both Olympia and Lisa say the children seem to understand that their mother won’t be returning home.

“They know she’s passed away,” Olympia said.

The last time Lisa saw her daughter was Wednesday evening, a day before her death, when Latoya visited her mother’s home.

“She would visit every evening until it was time to pick up the kids from day camp,” Lisa said.

Boyfriend Anthony Thornton Sr. said he met Hoover 13 years ago and the two at one point lived in Chicago, where he’s from, but when Latoya didn’t quite like living there, they made the move to be in her hometown. The couple had just bought a house together and Thornton said he’ll continue to raise their children — Anthony Jr. and Tyrieanna — in that house.

A family friend, who happened to be traveling on the road that morning, told Thornton they believed Hoover swerved to miss hitting another car. He said she had only been licensed to drive three or four years, and he believes she panicked.

“She was the kindest person in the world. I’m just heartbroken,” he said.

Hoover attended Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, was a licensed cosmetologist and had quit working at Gildan to spend more time with her children and boyfriend.

“She took a part-time job to focus on the kids and her family,” Thornton said.

“She treated me good. She took care of me when I was down and I took care of her when she was down. She was a kind-hearted angel,” he said.

Longtime friend Janine Leach said Hoover was a “sweet person” and a loving mother.

“I was at her house a few weeks ago. We had a great time. My kids played with her kids,” Leach said.

Leach said she felt for Hoover’s children, saying she couldn’t imagine losing a mother at such a young age.

The last time the two friends were together they sat on the porch talking, laughing, smoking cigarettes while Hoover ate her favorite snack — Hot Fries.

She wasn’t really the type to go out a lot. She was more of a homebody, go to work, come home and be with her family,” Leach said. 
Friend Chariel Dye is godmother to both of Hoover’s children and has known her for nine years. The two women met as neighbors and instantly clicked, Dye said.
“She was the peacemaker. I could go to her with any problem, be upset and she would make it alright before you leave,” Dye said.
Dye said Latoya was one of the most positive people anyone would ever meet. She was a hard-working woman who “worked like a dog for her children,who were her main priority. She put all her time and effort in her children.”

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.