PALMDALE – An online fundraiser has been created to help cover funeral and medical expenses in connection with a head-on collision last week that killed 42-year-old Tori Ann Haywood and injured four of her six children as they were on a family vacation.
To donate to the family, visit: https://gf.me/u/yd23t2.
Haywood was pronounced dead at the scene of a multiple-vehicle collision, which was reported around 6:20 p.m. July 2 on Palmdale Boulevard east of 80th Street East.
Haywood was driving a 2020 Toyota westbound on Palmdale Boulevard when she was hit head-on by an eastbound 2014 Hyundai that veered into the opposing lane, according to the California Highway Patrol. The Hyundai’s driver, now identified as 20-year-old Justin Leath of Palmdale, was also pronounced dead at the scene. As a result of the head-on collision, a second collision occurred involving a vehicle that was following Haywood.
Four of Haywood’s children — 19-year-old Tre and 18-year-old triplets Tyjhai, Tyzjon, and Sierra Ladet— were in the vehicle with Haywood at the time of the crash. They all sustained injuries that required surgeries, according to family members. A fifth child, 20-year-old Tyree Ladet, was a passenger in the vehicle that was following Haywood. He was not injured in the collision.
Haywood’s eldest child, 22-year-old Malik Ladet, was also on the family vacation but he was out with a friend at the time of the collision. Malik created the online fundraiser.
“I have to step up to the plate and do everything [my mom] did for my siblings, and I’m fresh out of college and still got student loans to pay,” said Malik, who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in May. “I’m just trying to be strong for my siblings because they’re looking up to me.”
Haywood and her children were visiting from Tennessee for the Fourth of July week, according to her brother, Robert Haywood.
“She wanted to show her kids where they came from and show them her side of the family,” said Robert Haywood, adding that his sister relocated from the Antelope Valley to Tennesee in 2003.
“It was supposed to be a celebration, we were all coming together to have fun,” Robert Haywood said.
He said he wants his sister to be remembered as a sweet person who would do anything for her children.
“You could call anybody in Tennessee or anybody who grew up with her [in the Antelope Valley] and they would all tell you they’ve never seen a mother like her,” Robert Haywood said. “I think Tori took all the punishment in that accident because she didn’t want any harm to come to her kids.”
Robert Haywood said he and his wife are pitching in to make sure his sister’s children are okay.
“All of us gotta come together as a family. Our first priority is to make sure that they all heal and then we just gotta take this a day at a time,” Robert Haywood said.
Asked how he would want his mom to be remembered, Malik said, “She was a loving and caring person.”
Previous related story: 2 dead, 5 injured in multi-vehicle Antelope Valley crash