The Wilson Times

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 7:45 AM

Mo-ped rider dies in SUV crash
Family remembers Victor Tolliver as outspoken, optimistic; SUV driver faces charges

By Corey Friedman | Times Online Editor

Children on Victor Tolliver’s street will always remember his "hood cuts.”

The 45-year-old Wilson man died after his mo-ped crashed into a sport utility vehicle Sunday night. Tolliver’s wife said he was an aspiring barber who gave free haircuts to keep his skills and scissors sharp.

"His vision was to go to school and become a barber and own his own shop,” wrote Sandra Smith, Tolliver’s wife of 11 years. "He would cut the neighborhood kids’ hair for free.”

Tolliver called the free service "hood cuts,” she added.

Smith penned her thoughts in a spiral-bound notebook. She said her husband’s death was too painful to speak about.

Tolliver died from injuries he suffered during a crash at the intersection of Hines Street Southwest and Mercer Street Southwest.

Tolliver was driving on Hines Street when a Ford Expedition driven by Tonya Lyvette Lavender, 37, of 309 Branch St. in Elm City entered the intersection, according to a police report. Tolliver’s mo-ped struck the Expedition’s front driver-side door.

Paramedics airlifted Tolliver to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where police say he died from his injuries.

A police report lists Lavender failing to yield the right of way as a contributing circumstance in the crash. The SUV was traveling around 10 mph, the report states.

Police charged Lavender with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, driving with no liability insurance and displaying a fictitious, canceled or revoked registration card or license plate.

Lavender was booked into the Wilson County Detention Center under a $5,000 secured bond, according to Wilson police spokesman Sgt. John Slaughter.

Tolliver told paramedics he had been drinking alcoholic beverages before the crash, according to the police report.

The wreck happened shortly before 9:30 p.m. Sunday. A rescue helicopter landed in a field near the crash site, and paramedics flew him to the Greenville hospital.

Onlookers lined the sidewalk and clustered in the Mercer Street post office’s parking lot as the Vidant Medical Transport helicopter touched down.

Wilson police, Wilson Fire/Rescue Services and Wilson County Emergency Medical Services responded to the crash.

Relatives gathered on the front porch and in the yard of Tolliver’s 909 Aycock St. home Monday afternoon. Smith held a notebook in her lap and thumbed through snapshots of her husband.

"Victor was a very fun-loving, family-oriented man,” Smith wrote. "He loved children and had a passion for his dogs and cutting hair.”

Tolliver grew up in Washington, D.C., and his family described him as outspoken.

"He was loved by many for his blunt way of telling it like it is,” Smith wrote. "He always spoke his mind, like it or not.”

Tolliver also was relentlessly positive, his wife said.

"His special saying was, ‘Are we celebrating today?’” Smith wrote, "and you would ask, ‘Celebrating what?’ and he would say, ‘Celebrating today!’ He will truly be missed by all his friends and loved ones.”

Tolliver’s funeral is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at St. James Christian Church in Wilson. | 265-7821

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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