Tributes have been paid to a "wonderful mummy and nanna", who was killed during a crash on the M25 that followed two police pursuits.

At 4am on Sunday (February 4), Zoe Hawes from Canvey Island had been travelling to go on holiday for her 40th birthday when she was involved in a crash with three other vehicles between junctions 21a and 22 (Watford and St Albans).

Officers had been in pursuit of a Citroen Dispatch van on the M1, and later Breakspear Way, prior to the collision.

The van had been seen driving on the wrong side of the M25, before it was involved in the crash with three other vehicles.

Borehamwood Times: Zoe Hawes, who sadly died following the collision.Zoe Hawes, who sadly died following the collision. (Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

A second man, travelling in a different vehicle to Zoe, was also killed in the crash, while Zoe's husband remains in hospital in a "critical but stable" condition.

In 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.”

Borehamwood Times: Zoe Hawes, from Canvey, who died during the collision.Zoe Hawes, from Canvey, who died during the collision. (Image: Hertfordshire Constabulary)

The driver of the van taken to hospital where they remain in a serious condition, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

No police vehicles were involved and the pursuit had been stood down prior to the collision, with the incident now referred to the IOPC for investigation.

A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and remains in hospital at this time.

An investigation is also being conducted by Essex Police.

Police would like to speak to people who saw the crash, or to anybody who may have dash cam footage of the incident.

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.

“You can email me at”

Information can also be reported online at, via online web chat at or by calling the non-emergency number 101 quoting 'Op Sericeous'.

Alternatively, you can report information anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their untraceable online form at