Mother and father of 5 killed after redwood tree falls on their car – National

A couple with five children has died after a redwood tree toppled onto their vehicle during a road trip along the coast of California, police say.

Jake Woodruff, 36, and his wife Jessica, 45, were driving their 2016 Honda Accord through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park when a massive tree fell onto the road last Thursday, “completely crushing the passenger compartment,” according to California Highway Patrol.

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is shown in California.

Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The incident happened on Highway 199 around noon in the northwestern part of the state. Authorities say the tree was 53 metres (175 feet) tall.

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The pair had set out on the road trip to celebrate Jessica’s birthday, according to a GoFundMe page launched by her cousin Amanda Maffei.

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The couple’s five children were not in the car at the time.

The Woodruffs had been married for nearly 13 years, according to their family.

Jake and Jessica Woodruff are shown in this handout photo.

Jake and Jessica Woodruff are shown in this handout photo.

Amanda Maffei/GoFundMe

They are survived by Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie and Chelsea, who range in age from 8 to 24 years old, local station KDRV reports.

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

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The eldest two children will take on family responsibilities and raise their younger siblings, according to the page.

Friends, neighbours and complete strangers have donated more than US$254,000 to the cause since the page was first posted last week.

“When they say ‘It takes a village,’ that is an understatement, and the amount you all have done for these children and their future already, is absolutely humbling,” Maffei wrote in an update on Monday.

The California Highway Patrol is still investigating the accident.

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