Tributes have been paid to a mother who was tragically killed in a police chase crash occurring on the M25 at around 4AM on Sunday which also left another man dead.
Zoe Hawes, from Canvey Island who was a mother and a grandmother, was travelling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday when she was killed in the horrific crash on the M25 between junction 22 and 21A near St Albans
Officers had been in pursuit of a stolen white Citroen van which was then involved in a collision with three other vehicles, including the vehicle that Zoe was in.
However, no police vehicles were involved in the collision and the pursuit had been stood down prior to the collision.
A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
The family of a woman killed in a collision on the M25 on Sunday (4 February) have paid tribute to a ‘wonderful mummy and nanna’
A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving
Zoe Hawes was travelling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday
In a tribute, Zoe’s family said:
‘Zoe was the heart of our blended family. She was a role model to everyone and the centre of our family.
‘She was a very much loved mum, step-mum, sister, aunt and lovely young nanna.
‘She was a friend to many. She was very much looking to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th with her husband.
‘Sadly a holiday and birthday she didn’t get to celebrate. We are all trying to pull together as a family and are devastated to lose Zoe in this tragic way.
‘We wouldn’t have changed her for the world and she leaves an enormous hole in our family that will never be filled.
‘We love you and will miss you forever xx.’
Well-wishers posting messages of support said: ‘Zoe you were such a beautiful person, sending love at such an awful time.’
Another wrote: ‘Zoe was such an amazing friend, beautiful, caring and much more.
‘Sending thoughts, prayers and support to her family and friends at this extremely sad difficult time RIP beautiful girl.’
A third added: ‘Such a lovely lady who has been taken to soon, sending all my love and thoughts to her children.’
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the involvement of Hertfordshire police officers before a crash on the M25 where two people died.
Police in a marked vehicle had been following a stolen white Citroen Dispatch on the M1 at twenty-to-four last Sunday morning.
The officers activated their vehicle’s lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the driver of the van. After it failed to stop, officers initiated a pursuit which was abandoned because the risk of continuing was considered too high.
There was a subsequent pursuit of the van shortly before 4am on Breakspear Way, Hemel Hempstead, which was abandoned a few minutes later.
A short time later the van was seen by a police officer travelling on the wrong side of the M25.
The officer followed the van on the correct side of the road but did not activate the vehicle’s lights or sirens.
At approximately 4.08am, the van was involved in a collision with other vehicles on the M25 between junctions 21a and 22 (Watford and St Albans).
Two people died as a result of that collision. The driver of the van was taken to hospital where they remain in a serious condition. A criminal investigation into the fatal crash is being carried out by Essex Police.
IOPC investigators went to the crash scene and the police post-incident procedure where the officers involved provided their initial accounts.
The IOPC said: ‘We are gathering and reviewing evidence as we piece together the circumstances surrounding this incident.
‘This includes securing and reviewing police dashcam footage and officers’ body-worn video footage, obtaining motorway CCTV and reviewing police call logs and radio transmissions. ‘
IOPC Regional Director Charmaine Arbouin said: ‘Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic incident.
‘Given that police officers were pursuing one of the vehicles before the fatal collision, it’s important that we independently investigate the actions and decision-making of the officers involved.
‘We will ensure that our enquiries do not impede the police investigation, and we will keep those involved regularly updated.’
Hertfordshire police said they are appealing for witnesses, information and dash cam footage.
Four vehicles were involved – the white Citroen Dispatch van, a silver DFSK 580 Glory, a silver Skoda Superb and a black Peugeot 5008.
The ‘serious road traffic collision’ happened at around 4am on Sunday 4 February, with police saying they had stopped pursuing the van moments before the crash
They said a man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
Detective Inspector Mark Fraser, from Essex Police, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those who lost their lives in this collision.
‘I am appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to get in touch.
‘Did you see what happened or the events leading up to the collision? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you can help.
‘I also want to ask any dashcam owners who were driving in the area to check it and get in touch if you spot something that might help us.’
Anyone with information regarding the incident is being encouraged to come forward by contacting the police on 999 or by emailing Essex Police at [email protected].