Jessica & Jake Woodruff Yreka couple killed when falling redwood tree lands on top of their car during weekend getaway along California coastline.
Jessica and Jake Woodruff were driving along Route 199 when a 175-foot-tall tree crashed down on their 2016 Honda Accord the Redheaded Blackbelt reported.
Jake, 36, was driving Jessica up the coast to celebrate her 45th birthday, an annual tradition for the couple, who resided in Yreka with their children.
The fatal incident occurred in the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, which preserves old-growth redwoods along the Smith River.
The tree fell directly on top of the car, crushing the passenger compartment, according to a California Highway Patrol news release.
‘This was a shocking and unexpected event, and the tragedy of this accident makes it difficult to accept as real,’ family friend Amanda Maffei wrote on a GoFundMe campaign to support the couple’s five children.
‘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,’ wrote Maffei.
‘Those of you who know this family, know how tight-knit they are, and their lives will forever be changed,’ she added.
Officials say it was a pleasant day with no wind, calling the odds of a tree falling directly on a car astronomical.
California Highway Patrol Officer Gonzalez said the tree uprooted likely due to natural causes.
‘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,’ Gonzalez told SFGate.
‘The timing of everything was very, very unusual,’ she added.
‘I’ve been on the department for 19 years and I’ve been in this area 12 to 13 years and it’s very unusual. We’ve had trees fall down and cars make contact, but this kind of incident is very unusual,’ Gonzalez said.
Jake and Jessica are survived by their children, Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie, and Chelsea.
The GoFundMe campaign for the family had raised more than $104,686 by Monday night.