The parents of five children died last week near Crescent City in Northern California when a redwood tree fell on their vehicle, according to CHP and a GoFundMe page.
A 36-year-old man and 45-year-old woman were traveling south on Highway 199 in Del Norte County, a region known for its massive redwoods, when the tree uprooted and crushed the couple.
A GoFundMe for the bereaved family identified the victims as Jessica and Jake Woodruff.
“It’s the most unusual incident I’ve seen in my 19-year career,” said Brandy Gonzalez, a public information officer with the California Highway Patrol in Crescent City.
Gonzalez said the tree uprooted likely due to natural causes.
“We’re very prone to Mother Nature in this area,” she said. “We do have trees come across lanes sometimes, and we think, ‘Luckily it didn’t hurt anybody.'”
“The timing in this case was just crazy,” Gonzalez added.
According to the fundraising page, the Woodruffs were parents to five children and were taking a road trip up the coast to celebrate Jessica Woodruff’s 45th birthday, an annual tradition.
“This was a shocking and unexpected event, and the tragedy of this accident makes it difficult to accept as real,” the page’s author wrote.
The campaign described the family as tight-knit and said the children were “facing the devastating reality of what was just ripped from their lives in a split second.”
As of Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $93,000 of its $150,000 goal.