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Tributes to mum killed in horror M25 crash on way to celebrate 40th birthday

Tributes to mother killed on her way to 40th birthday holiday in tragic police chase crash on M25 which also left another man dead
Zoe Hawes’ relatives said she was ‘the heart of our blended family’ (Picture: hertspolice/UKNIP)

Tributes have been paid to a mum who was killed in a horror crash on the M25 involving a van that had been in a police chase shortly before.

Zoe Hawes, a mother and grandmother, was travelling from her home in Canvey Island to a holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday when the tragedy unfolded in the early hours last Sunday.

Officers had earlier been pursuing a stolen white Citroen van which collided with three other vehicles, including Zoe’s, between junctions 22 and 21A near St Albans.

No police vehicles were involved in the crash and the pursuit had been stood down by the time it occurred. A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

In a tribute, Zoe’s heartbroken relatives said she was ‘the heart of our blended family’, adding in a statement: ‘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.

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?. Zoe Hawes, from Canvey Island, was travelling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday when the incident occurred.
Zoe Hawes, a mother and grandmother, was travelling from her home in Canvey Island to a holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday (Picture: X/@HertsPolice)

‘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’

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the involvement of Hertfordshire Police officers in the crash.

In a tragic incident early this morning, a horrific collision involving multiple vehicles on the M25 in Hertfordshire resulted in the closure of a 5-mile section of the motorway and the initiation of a comprehensive investigation led by the Hertfordshire Police The incident between junctions 21A and 22 near Radlett and Colley Street has brought the area to a standstill, with emergency services and investigators quickly dispatched to the scene. Preliminary reports suggest several vehicles were involved and at least one person is dead. Police and Highways have confirmed that the collision's impact was severe, with vehicle wreckage scattered across all four lanes of the M25, indicating the magnitude of the incident.?? Tragically, at least one person has been reported dead, though emergency services are yet to confirm the total number of casualties. A forensic investigation has been launched to piece together the events that led to the crash. The section of the M25 affected by the incident has been closed to traffic, with drivers being advised to seek alternative routes to avoid delays.
Vehicle wreckage scattered across all four lanes of the M25 (Picture: UKNIP)

A Citroen Dispatch van which had been reported stolen was spotted by officers from the force on the M1 at around 3.40am, the IPOC said.

The officers initiated a pursuit after failing to stop the driver with lights and sirens, but it was abandoned shortly after with the risk of continuing deemed too high.

A second pursuit of the van was made shortly before 4am on Breakspear Way in Hemel Hempstead, but was also abandoned.

The vehicle was then seen by an officer as it was travelling on the wrong side of the M25.

The officer followed the van on the correct side of the road but did not activate their lights or sirens, the IOPC said.

A collision between the van and other vehicles then occurred between junctions 21a and 22 on the motorway at around 4.08am, resulting in the deaths of two people.

The IOPC said it was gathering and reviewing evidence to piece together the incident, including police dashcam footage and officers’ body-worn video footage, motorway CCTV and 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 inquiries do not impede the police investigation, and we will keep those involved regularly updated.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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