Mother's tribute as baby son and sister killed in horror crash as man due in court

3 June 2024, 14:45

Baby Zackary Blades and his aunt Karlene Warner, 30, died after the crash on the southbound carriageway of the A1(M)
Baby Zackary Blades and his aunt Karlene Warner, 30, died after the crash on the southbound carriageway of the A1(M). Picture: social media

By StephenRigley

A man has been charged with two counts of causing death by dangerous driving following a crash on the A1 which killed a baby boy and his aunt.

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Durham Police said eight-month-old Zackary Blades and 30-year-old Karlene Warner were travelling in a Peugeot 308 between Chester-le-Street and Durham when they were struck by an Audi Q5 at around 3.15am on Friday.

The pair sustained fatal injuries and died at the scene.

Zackary's mother, Shalorna Warner, was driving the vehicle at the time and sustained minor injuries.

Zackary Blades was only eight months old when he died alongside his aunt Karlene Warner in a crash
Zackary Blades was only eight months old when he died alongside his aunt Karlene Warner in a crash. Picture: social media

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Ms Warner and Zackary's father, Jack Blades, paid tribute to their son.

"We are absolutely heartbroken to announce the tragic death of our beautiful son, Zackary," they said.

"We only had you in our arms for eight months but in that time, you brought us so much happiness to all our lives.

"We had so many amazing memories together as a family that will never ever be forgotten; thank you for giving us the best Christmas and holiday together in that time.

"You started crawling from such an early stage, you absolutely loved your food, you started to say mama, your top teeth had just come through, you were climbing the stairs and would always laugh while doing it because you knew you were being naughty.

"You were so close to standing up on your own.

"I'm so sorry you never got to grow up.

"Our little Zack - mammy and daddy love you so much, you didn't deserve any of this.

"You were such a happy, cheeky boy.

"I am so sorry this has happened - our hearts are truly broken. We will never forget you, you will always be in our hearts."

"We miss you so much and will for the rest of our lives.

"We know your Auntie Karlene will take the best care of you."

The family also paid tribute to Ms Warner, who leaves behind a daughter, Everly.

"How do we put into words to describe the amazing mother, partner, daughter, sister, granddaughter, auntie, niece, and friend Karlene was?" they said.

"You light up every room you walked into like the bright shining diamond that you were.

"You leave behind the most precious daughter in Everly, and she will know how amazing and special you were.

"You had so much to look forward to in life and that has been taken.

"You would go and above and beyond to help anyone and cared so much for others, always putting others before yourself.

"Your crazy, sassy, funny, beautiful, presence will stay with us forever and is so evident in your beautiful little girl.

"You may be gone but you live on through Everly.

"Life for us will continue but we don't know how to carry on without you both.

"You had found your soulmate in Keiran, and he loved you so much and will treasure the memories you, him and Everly shared together.

"We find comfort knowing that you are with our beautiful Zackary and you are together.

"Sleep tight Karlene and fly high forever. You are loved beyond measure."

A 38-year-old man from Rotherham was arrested at the scene of the collision.

He has since been charged with causing death by dangerous driving and possession of a bladed article.

He was due to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court on Monday.

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