Parents of 5 children killed after giant redwood tree crushes car

A giant redwood forest along Lucas Valley Road in Marin County, California. A husband and wife traveling along a Northern California highway last week were killed when a giant redwood tree fell and smashed their car — a tragedy that has left five children orphaned.
A giant redwood forest along Lucas Valley Road in Marin County, California. A husband and wife traveling along a Northern California highway last week were killed when a giant redwood tree fell and smashed their car — a tragedy that has left five children orphaned.

A husband and wife traveling along a Northern California highway last week were killed when a giant redwood tree fell and smashed their car — a tragedy that has left five children orphaned.

The couple were headed southbound on Highway 199 near Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in Del Norte County on March 25 when a 175-foot redwood tumbled onto their 2016 Honda, “completely crushing the passenger compartment,” reports said.

Jake Woodruff, 36, and Jessica Woodruff, 45, died from their injuries, according to KDRV-TV which cited an incident report.

The road trip was an annual tradition.

The parents, who had been married for nearly 13 years, made the three-hour drive to the coast every year from Yreka to celebrate Jessica’s birthday, reports said.

They were just a few miles from the town of Hiouchi when the accident occurred.

ExploreFather dies after trying to rescue 3 kids trapped in Gulf of Mexico

They are survived by five children, who range in age from 8 to 24. They are Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie and Chelsea, KDRV-TV reported.

A GoFundMe was established and so far has raised more than $238,000 for their care.

“This was a shocking and unexpected event, and the tragedy of this accident makes it difficult to accept as real,” Amanda Maffei, a cousin of the deceased, wrote on the page. “These 5 children are now left without parents and are facing a lifetime of expenses.”

ExploreCollege basketball player dies in crash days after loss in NCAA tournament

Maffei said the older children would likely now have the responsibility of caring for their younger siblings.

“I think that they’re going to find strength within each other,” she said, according to reports. “They’re going to look out for each other and, you know, just the generosity of so many different communities and the support that they’ve received. I’m hoping that they find strength in that as well.”

The accident remains under investigation.

The base of the 3,000-year-old Stagg Tree, the fifth-largest giant sequoia on record which is as tall as a 25-story building and wider than a two-lane road. Giant sequoia groves are found on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the only place on the planet they naturally grow.
The base of the 3,000-year-old Stagg Tree, the fifth-largest giant sequoia on record which is as tall as a 25-story building and wider than a two-lane road. Giant sequoia groves are found on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the only place on the planet they naturally grow.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Redwoods are indigenous to California, with Sequoia trees found only in the Northern California coastal forest region, on the Northern California coast and several miles into Oregon.

In Other News