Tributes to mother killed on her way to 40th birthday holiday in tragic police chase crash on M25 which also left another man dead

Tributes have been paid to a mother who was tragically killed in a police pursuit crash 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 traveling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday when she died in the horror crash on the M25 between junctions 22 and 21A near St. Albans

Officers were looking for a stolen white Citroën van which was then involved in a collision with three other vehicles, including the vehicle Zoe was in.

However, no police vehicles were involved in the collision and the pursuit was stopped before the collision.

A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The family of a woman who died in a collision on the M25 on Sunday (February 4) have paid tribute to a 'wonderful mummy and nanna'

The family of a woman who died in a collision on the M25 on Sunday (February 4) 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

A man in his twenties has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving

Zoe Hawes was traveling to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th birthday

Zoe Hawes was traveling 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 for everyone and the center of our family.

‘She was a much loved mum, step mum, sister, aunt and lovely young nanna.

‘She was a friend to many. She really wanted to go on holiday to celebrate her 40th with her husband.

‘Unfortunately she could not celebrate a holiday and birthday. 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 who posted messages of support said: ‘Zoe, you were such a beautiful person sending love at such a horrible time.’

Another wrote: ‘Zoe was such an amazing friend, beautiful, caring and so 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 taken away 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 in which two people died.

The police in a marked vehicle followed a stolen white Citroen Dispatch on the M1 last Sunday morning at twenty-four.

The officers activated their vehicle’s lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the driver of the van. After failing to stop, officers began a pursuit that was abandoned because the risk was deemed too high to continue.

There was a 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 spotted by a police officer driving on the wrong side of the M25.

The officer followed the van on the right side of the road but did not activate the vehicle’s lights or sirens.

At approximately 04:08 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 this collision. The driver of the van was taken to hospital where they are in a serious condition. A criminal investigation into the fatal crash is being carried out by Essex Police.

IOPC investigators went to the accident 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 highway CCTV and reviewing police call logs and radio transmissions. ‘

Charmaine Arbouin, regional director of the IOPC, said: ‘Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragic incident.

‘Since police officers were chasing one of the vehicles before the fatal collision, it is 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 regularly keep those involved informed.’

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 stopped chasing the van moments before the crash.

The ‘serious road traffic collision’ happened at around 4am on Sunday 4 February, with police saying they stopped chasing the van moments before the crash.

They said a man in his twenties was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

Detective Inspector Mark Fraser, of 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 would also ask any dashcam owners who have driven in the area to check it out and get in touch if you see anything that can help us.’

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to come forward by contacting police on 999 or by emailing Essex Police at CollisionAppeal@essex.police.uk.