Family's tribute to 'wonderful' four-year-old killed in M4 crash near Newport
The family of a "wonderful" four-year-old girl who died after a crash on a motorway in south Wales have said they are "lost for words" following her death.
Gracie-Ann Wheaton, from Tredegar, had been returning from a birthday party at around 1.45pm on Saturday when the car she was travelling in was involved in a crash with a van.
The crash happened on the M4 westbound carriageway between junctions 28 and 29, near Newport, prompting a huge emergency response and causing the route to be closed for around seven hours.
Gracie-Ann was rushed to the intensive care unit (ICU) of University Hospital of Wales, also known as the Heath Hospital, in Cardiff, but suffered a cardiac arrest due to the severity of her injuries.
Family members confirmed that she died at around 5am on Sunday morning.
The Ford Transit driver, 41-year-old Martin Newman, of Croeserw, appeared at Newport Magistrates' Court on Monday charged with causing death by dangerous driving and two offences of causing serious injury by dangerous driving.
He has been remanded into custody pending a hearing at Newport Crown Court on February 21.
A woman remains in hospital in a stable condition, while another child is in a critical condition.
Cousin Jamie Lucas, 19, from Abergavenny, told the PA news agency: "I'm just trying to wrap my head around the fact that she's gone; it's hard to believe.
"She was so young. She had a bright future ahead of her. She was such a wonderful child.
"I'm just lost for words really. How she was returning from a birthday party and all of a sudden she's gone."
He added: "She was very smart, she was very creative. She had a really great imagination as well. She was just fantastic to be around."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Gracie-Ann's funeral, and has so far raised nearly £5,000.
Anyone with dashcam footage of the collision, or any information that could help the investigation, is asked to call Gwent Police on 101 and quote 2200041245.