Who were Jessica and Jake Woodruff? California parents of 5 die after 175-foot tree falls on car, $100K raised

Who were Jessica and Jake Woodruff? California parents of 5 die after 175-foot tree falls on car, $100K raised
Jessica and Jake Woodruff were killed in Northern California when a redwood tree fell on their car (GoFundMe)

A couple died tragically during a weekend getaway when a redwood tree fell on top of their car, crushing it. Parents of five, Jessica Woodruff and Jake Woodruff, were reportedly driving on Thursday, March 25, down route 199 toward the coast in Northern California when the unfortunate incident took place. The tree, 175-foot-tall, is said to have crashed down on their 2016 Honda Accord.

According to reports, the couple was driving up the coast to celebrate Jessica’s 45th birthday. It was an annual tradition for the couple who lived in Yreka with their five children. While the reason for the tree falling is unknown, Officer Brandy Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the CHP office in Crescent City said it was a “nice day with no wind”. 


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Jake and Jessica Woodruff with their 5 children (GoFundMe)

Who were Jessica and Jake Woodruff? 

While no other details regarding the deceased couple are made available, the car was being driven by 36-year-old Jake, and his wife Jessica, 45, was a passenger. Reportedly, the highway was shut down for an hour until the scene was cleared. 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. According to NBC, the couple has left five children behind — Megan, Evan, Casey, Allie and Chelsea. 

Over $100,000 raised for the children on GoFundMe 

A family friend by the name of Amanda Maffei has set up a campaign on GoFundMe to raise funds for Jake and Jessica’s five children. “This was a shocking and unexpected event, and the tragedy of this accident makes it difficult to accept as real," the family friend wrote on GoFundMe. The campaign has managed to raise $116,516 of $500,000 goal when this article was published. She has further written, “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. Those of you who know this family, know how tight-knit they are, and their lives will forever be changed."

The Woodruffs (GoFundMe)

‘It was Mother Nature,’ says officer 

The exact reason for the tree crash is yet to be determined and the cops have dubbed it as an act of mother nature as it’s extremely rare. Gonzalez said of the incident, "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."

Meanwhile, Ryan Aylward, a forecaster with the weather service told SFGate, “Normally at those wind speeds you don’t expect damage, but that doesn’t mean a lighter breeze can’t knock down a tree. There’s nothing to say it was weather-related. There’s nothing in the data that can say it was. It wasn’t something that jumped out to us as a wind-related incident."

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