Man arrested after after baby and young woman killed in A1(M) collision next to Sunderland

A woman and a baby have been killed in the serious collision on the A1(M) last week, police have confirmed.

Eight-month-old Zackary Blades and 30-year-old Karlene Warner were travelling in a Peugeot 308 on the A1(M) between Chester-le-Street and Durham when they were struck by an Audi Q5 in the early hours of Friday, May 31. The pair sustained fatal injuries and tragically died at the scene, police said.

Durham Constabulary said a man has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving and possession of a bladed article after the incident. Zackary’s mam, Shalorna Warner, was driving the vehicle at the time. She sustained minor injuries and was taken to hospital for treatment, the force said.

Today, she and his 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. Rest in peace our gorgeous little boy, you will never be forgotten Zackary William Blades.

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

“How do we put into words to describe the amazing mother, partner, daughter, sister, grandaughter, 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 Kieran, 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.”

Durham Constabulary said: “A 38-year-old man 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 remanded in custody to appear at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court this morning, June 3.

“The incident happened at 3.15am on the southbound carriageway of the A1(M).

“Anyone who witnessed the collision, or has any dashcam footage, is asked to contact our Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 101.

“Information can also be sent in via email to”

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