The loved ones of a woman who passed away in a crash on the M25 following a police chase have honored her as their “inspiration.”
Zoe Hawes, aged 40, was on her way from Essex to commemorate her birthday on Sunday when she was in a deadly accident with a van on the M25. Prior to the crash, the van was being chased by police officers, who called off the pursuit before the collision occurred. Another man, riding in a separate vehicle, also lost his life in the accident.
The van’s driver was transported to the hospital in a critical state and is currently still there. A man in his twenties has been apprehended on suspicion of causing a fatality through reckless driving.
The family shared that Zoe was the central figure in their blended family, serving as a role model and bringing everyone together. She was cherished as a mother, stepmother, sister, aunt, and adored as a young grandmother.
Zoe was a beloved companion to numerous people. She was eagerly anticipating a holiday to commemorate her 40th birthday with her spouse. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to enjoy this vacation or birthday. Our family is struggling to come together during this difficult time and we are heartbroken over the loss of Zoe in such a tragic manner.
“We could never have replaced her and her absence has left a huge void in our family that can never be filled.”
The IOPC is currently collecting and assessing evidence in order to understand the details of the incident. This involves obtaining and reviewing dashcam and body camera footage from police officers, as well as motorway CCTV and police communication records.
The IOPC stated that at approximately 3:40am, law enforcement officers observed a white Citroën Dispatch van driving on the M1 highway, which had been reported as stolen.
Soon after, the officers activated their vehicle’s lights and sirens in an effort to halt the van’s driver. When the driver did not comply, the officers began a chase, but ultimately decided to call it off due to the potential danger.
A pursuit of the van occurred shortly before 4am on Breakspear Way, and it was abandoned a few minutes later.
Shortly after, a police officer spotted the van driving on the opposite side of the M25. The officer tailed the van on the proper side of the road, but did not turn on the vehicle’s lights or sirens.
“At around 4:08am, the van was in a crash with other cars on the M25 highway between junctions 21a and 22, specifically in the areas of Watford and St Albans.”
The regional director of the IOPC, Charmaine Arbouin, expressed sympathy for those impacted by this unfortunate event. As police officers were pursuing one of the vehicles prior to the fatal crash, it is crucial that we conduct an impartial investigation into the actions and decisions of the officers involved.
“We will make sure that our questions do not hinder the ongoing police investigation, and we will provide regular updates to those involved.”
Essex police are investigating the collision and have requested any information from the public.