The parents of a young woman killed in a car accident last month have released a heartfelt tribute to their “caring” and “bubbly” daughter.
Grace Payne, 21, was killed when a van driving the wrong way up the A13 collided with the car in which she was a passenger in Dagenham, East London.
The van had failed to stop for police before entering the highway and was being pursued at the time of the crash, which occurred around 2.35 a.m. on November 25.
“Grace’s death has left us, along with the rest of her family and friends, devastated,” Grace’s heartbroken parents said. We’re still struggling to accept the fact that our daughter will never return home.
“How can we describe Grace? She made us proud in so many ways. She was caring, compassionate, bright, funny, bubbly – her friends always said that she had the ability to brighten up their day.
“When she walked out of a room, she left everyone feeling happier than when she had walked in. She always wanted to help, always wanted to make people happy.”
They went on to say that Grace had graduated from the University of Kent earlier this year with a degree in history and philosophy.
The young woman worked in human resources, but her family says her dream was to retrain as a teacher.
They added: “When she helped her Dad and brother, Jack, coach the juniors at Brentwood Cricket Club, she was usually entrusted with the youngest age groups, supplying cuddles whenever necessary.
“She spent much of the summer travelling around Europe with university friends – trips to Italy, Greece, Sicily, Barcelona and Amsterdam.
“It had been a very happy, exciting, busy year. She was a 21-year-old starting to live life to the full after the confinements of Covid.”
Grace had apparently gone out with coworkers for a regular night out but “never returned home.”
According to police, a 39-year-old man who was driving the fan is still in critical condition in the hospital.
He was arrested on suspicion of causing death through reckless driving and failing to stop for police.
Meanwhile, the driver of the car that Grace was in, a black Toyota Prius, is receiving treatment in hospital, but is not believed to have sustained serious injuries.
The crash investigation is still ongoing.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct is also looking into the events that led up to the crash and the involvement of police officers.