Parents of 5 Killed Instantly in Freak Accident When Massive Redwood Tree Falls on Their Car

Jessica Woodruff, 45 and Jake Woodruff, 36 killed when redwood tree falls on their car during drive up California coast.

The couple were on an annual road-trip when the tragedy occurred. They leave behind five children: Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie, and Chelsea, ranging in age from 8 to 24.

The parents of five children were killed in a freak accident when a massive redwood tree fell on their car during an annual birthday road-trip as they drove along the picturesque California coast. Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the crash, a report said.

Jessica Woodruff, 45, and Jake Woodruff, 36, of Yreka, California, were killed instantly on Thursday when the 175-foot tall tree fell directly on top of their 2016 Honda, crushing the passenger compartment, according to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) news release.

The couple leave behind five children: Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie, and Chelsea, ranging in age from 8 to 24, according to Wild Rivers Post.

The pair were celebrating Jessica’s 45th birthday when the tragedy struck. They were traveling southbound on Route-199 between Crescent City and Hiouchi, along a stretch of highway lined with towering redwoods near Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, SF Gate reported.

The highway was shut down for nearly an hour as agencies cleared the scene. California Highway Patrol, Cal-Trans, Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department, National Park Service, Crescent City Fire and Rescue and Del Norte Ambulance all responded to the scene, NBC News- KOBI-TV 

Brandy Gonzalez, a CHP spokesperson, told SF Gate that the weather conditions on Thursday were mild with “no wind."

“This is a very forested area. We have trees everywhere. It’s in the middle of the redwoods. It’s just old-growth and we have no idea why the tree fell. It was Mother Nature,” she said.

A relative told Wild Rivers Outpost that the two older children were from Jessica’s prior marriage and that they have “immediately stepped up to take on raising their younger siblings.” 

“We are brokenhearted and are trying to do as much as we can to ensure the children have, at the very least, no financial hardships as they learn to grieve their parents in addition to navigating childhood and parenthood,” she said.

Amanda Maffei, the organizer of the GoFundMe fundraiser, described the family as “tight-knit” and the couple as “soulmates.” Maffei called the tragedy “shocking and unexpected and makes it difficult to accept as real.”

“These 5 children are now left without parents and are facing a lifetime of expenses,” Maffei wrote. “We are asking that anyone who can support them, please do so, as these children are facing the devastating reality of what was just ripped from their lives in a split second.”

Donations from around the country have been pouring in from strangers who are sending their prayers for this unspeakable loss. The campaign has raised $167,509 of their $500,000 goal.