The couple had been on their way to Oregon from California to celebrate a birthday. The fun-loving couple won't be able to see their kids grow up now.
Losing parents at a young age is one of the hardest experiences a child can go through. It's not something one overcomes easily and it might take many years before a child can move on from that grief.
Five siblings from California were left devastated when their parents passed away in a tragic accident. What should have been a joyful weekend for their parents became something completely shocking.
Jessica Woodruff, 45, and Jake Woodruff, 36, were on their way to Oregon from Yreka, California, for the former's birthday trip when they were struck by a giant redwood tree. The tree fell on their car when they were headed along Route-199 on the road trip. The Woodruffs had five kids, Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie, and Chelsea. The children's ages range from 8 to 24, as per Wild Rivers Outpost.
"The two adult children are from Jessica’s prior marriage and they have immediately stepped up to take on raising their younger siblings that share Jake and Jessica as parents,” Emma Miravalle Hood, a family member, said. "This family and these parents were such a humble, fun-loving pair that knew they were soulmates at the moment they met."
The death of the couple has been a loss unlike any other for their kids. "There is no getting around the devastation and trauma the loss of Jessica and Jake has brought, and as we can all imagine, there is a long road ahead, especially for the children who have been left behind," a GoFundMe page read.
The 36-year-old dad was driving his 2016 Honda Accord southbound on U.S. 199 north of Walker Road at about 11:49 a.m. on March 25 when the tree fell from the east side of the highway, according to a California Highway Patrol news release. The tree fell right on top of the car and crushed the passenger compartment, according to the CHP. The couple was fatally injured because of it. They leave behind a family that is heartbroken by their losses.
The reason why the tree fell is still under investigation, according to People. "This is a very forested area," Brandy Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the CHP office in Crescent City, told SFGate. "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."
Brandy added that a fatal accident because of a tree falling is extremely rare. "The timing of everything was very, very unusual," she said. "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," she added.
"These 5 children are now left without parents and are facing a lifetime of expenses. 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," the fundraising page read. They have already raised more than $277,000 (at the time of publication).
Cover image source: GoFundMe