Two Die After Tree Crushes Car on 199, Says CHP

Good Samaritans who tried to assist the occupants stand around a vehicle crushed by a tree on Hwy 199. The vehicle images has been blocked out as family have not been notified. [Photo by Courtney Mae]

A large redwood tree feel on a 2016 Honda Accord today on Hwy 199 near north of Walker Road. [Photo by Courtney Mae]

Press release from the California Highway Patrol:

On March 25, 2021, at approximately 1149 hours, a 2016 Honda Accord, driven by a 36 year old male from Yreka, CA. was traveling southbound on US-199 north of Walker Rd. when a large redwood tree fell from the east side ofUS-199. The large tree fell directly on top of the 2016 Honda, completely crushing the passenger compartment. The driver and 45 year old passenger suffered fatal injuries as a result. This crash is still under investigation,

The following agencies responded to assist at the scene: California Highway Patrol, Cal-Trans, Del Norte County Sheriffs Department, National Park Service, Crescent City Fire and Rescue, Del Norte Ambulance.

UPDATE: Fundraiser Set Up for Children Orphaned When Tree Fell on Parent’s Car

Earlier: Falling Tree Leaves at Least One Person Dead and Closes Hwy 199

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80 comments

  • it’s usually vehicle versus tree, but this appears to be tree v vehicle.
    crumby jokes aside. those were crazy weird odds for these folks.

  • Dang, I hope they didn’t suffer. Condolences to the families.

  • WOW! What a way to go! Condolences.

    • When I was a kid, the “church ladies” would say: it is God’s will.

      • Perry Gray-Reneberg

        We Christians who believe God renders destruction in the post-incarnation era sure mess up a lot of people’s faith lives. I pray their survivers don’t hear such distortion.

    • They left behind 5 children. It’s a horrible tragedy.

      • We, the taxpayers, will (and should willingly) pay millions to the children and others for the negligence of the responsible agencies. I will help with the technical side if the family/guardians wish. No charge of any kind.

        There are other dead trees within reach of the highway that are in similar shape (long dead), so this will happen again if such trees (they WILL fall, but no one can say when) are not removed.

        • W. These were our best friends/family. Please get ahold of me. 530-340-5551
          I said the same thing as you did. Thank you so much. Tomorrow anytime you can get ahold of me. Were bringing dinner to the family as I type this.

  • Can you imagine you’re out enjoying a day, driving through the redwoods and you, out of nowhere, meet your end? Condolences to the families and I hope nothing was felt when this happened.

  • Wait until this happens during a windstorm at Sequoia parks’ new skywalk full of tourists..

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      Ice, how is it that I feel you have a mobid fascination or want for that to actually happen? Shame on you.

      • You’ve been practicing your comment section moral outrage, haven’t you? Coming along nicely. Time to move you to the advanced class: Tweeting with righteous indignation.

        • Last insult. Or I’ll put folks on moderation or ban if needed.

          • People what we fail to realize is that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. We must treat each day as our last because we never no. Life is short and precious. The pandemic should have taught us this. Love one another encourage eachother and Prayers to there children.

  • Prayers for the family 🙏

  • Cut those old trees down, how many lives must be sacrificed ? These deadly curves around trees kill people every year, cut them down and build redwood rest stops where people can view them in a safe setting.

    • There is a reason you are alone!

      • 2 people die in a tree fall and Loner Anger is freaking out, wanting to sue everyone and cut down the forest.

        2.5 million die from new communicable disease and he calls that a “lamedemic”.

        Lame Ranging these comment sections is his choice of time spending.

        Some people aren’t cut out for difficult tasks, so let’s just accept LR for what he does, which is basically less than nothing.

    • Cut the trees at Richardson Grove while you are at it.

    • I agree ..

    • Denise Elizabeth Spidle

      EXCELLENT IDEA!

    • In a safe setting? lmfao, so, what, from at least 200-300+ feet away?

      This is obviously tragic and sad, really goes to show you never know if today will be your last. Condolences to the kids.

      But it’s definitely not about the redwoods. Even small trees can and do fall and kill people. If you find that risk unacceptable, well, the desert can be very nice.

  • There you go. Problem salved ranger.
    It would have been nice if some intellectual could have thought of that before the Redwoods started to take revenge
    Great idea

  • the misadventures of bunjee

    Lone Ranger you know what is also safe? You just staying home and looking at pretty tree pictures on your computer.

  • How scary pray for the family’s my older son and daughter in law drive that road all the time I’m always worried for them that road has took so manny I love this is heartbreaking no words to make this better

  • Since all of them, every last one of ’em, will eventually fall (if we haven’t cut them down first), it amazes me trees don’t kill more people.

    • I know i should be serious….but

      Mr. Biden needs to outlaw assault trees and evil tree huggers. Arbor day celebrates trees that have or may kill.

      Please get to know Jesus. Praying for the families.

  • How utterly tragic.
    My heart goes out to their friends and relatives.
    Talk about the wrong place at the wrong time.
    I can’t even believe the odds of this happening to a moving vehicle.

  • What the hell are the tax payers paying for the Parks Service and Cal Trans if they can’t maintain the highways and parks along the highway to ensure safety for those that travel along it? This tree didn’t just fall. It is completely dead and rotten from some type beetle or fungus. It’s their responsibility to inspect and remove rotten dead trees along the roadways. What the hell? This wasn’t caused by lightening, or massive storm, or God. It was caused yet again by government neglect of their duty and responsibility.

    • ICYMI, that location is in the middle of a national park and CalTrans cannot touch any of the trees outside of the roadway. It dang near takes an act of Congress to cut a redwood tree inside the park. No matter how dangerous it is.

    • Oh, but you have to leave the forest and especially parks natural, wild and scenic. What’s a few human lives compared to ecosystems, habitats, old growth, owls, frogs, slugs…?

      Seriously though, my heart goes out to the victims of this tragic accident and their loved ones.

    • But,but,but heaven forbid, it was a nice looking second growth. We’ve got to save them third growths now. What a joke, cut them down and straightened the road already.

    • I’d love to agree with you on government neglect, but this is 100% on environmentalists. Nobody’s allowed to touch those trees without doing a decade of studies and millions of dollars. People die every year because of this.

    • How do you know the condition of that tree, did you examine it? Are you an arborist ? Unless you are a trained expert who has visually examined the tree comments like this are very irresponsible .

    • Seriously!!!!

      Who is in charge of maintaining the trees along that road?
      Who? They are accountable if accountability is to be assigned anywhere.

      Sure freak accidents happen.
      BUT

      Environmental statutes or not, we all travel through state maintained roadways with a baseline presumption of safety. Right?

      My hinky meter says this tree gave warnings that it was compromised.

      And they never inspected it, didn’t see it if they actually do inspections, or they just ignored it altogether like lazy fuks.

      Look at how that tree basically disintegrated where it split over the car.

      Live redwood creates large splinters and chards when they break, don’t they? I’m not seeing anything like that.

      I hope they do a thorough investigation.

      Finding out they left 5 children behind , no words.

      I hope they sue for $500,000,000+

    • You’re right about the tree being rotten. A witness account describes it disintegrating as it fell.

      https://kymkemp.com/2021/03/25/falling-tree-leaves-at-least-one-person-dead-and-closes-hwy-199/#comment-1305441

      This is not the first time CalTrans has been criticized for not keeping on top of hazard tree mitigation and not the first time someone on a road has died from an identifiable hazard tree falling. IIRC there was a death from one on 36 or Avenue of the Giants a few years ago.

    • let me guess, your a professional ambulance chaser, isn’t that’s what car insurance and life insurance is for? and as for cutting them all down that’s the same dumb thinking that people used after Steve Irwin died to kill all the manta rays they could find, do us all a favor and stay home do your shopping on line where your safe!

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  • “If a tree don’t fall on ya, you’ll live until you die.”
    Seems the old sayings are still true.

  • Can this family sue save the redwood league, earth first , epic and every other environmental group that has cause this fatality. They are to blame, hope they get sued.

    • while we’re at it, let’s ban cars. anybody caught driving, selling a car, or manufacturing a car goes directly to prison.

      i mean, cars kill how many people a year?

      i’m sure you support suing the NRA and gun manufacturers too, yeah?

    • Yep, because they were all standing there , already organized, having thought up incorporating and distinctions of nonprofit law, watching that tree sprout, two thousand years ago. And they stood there and said, “if we protect this tree, someday somebody is going to build a road right here, and somebody will invent a device to get from one place to another, and this tree will wait for its chance, and take careful aim and kill somebody.” It’s all a vast conspiracy.

  • This was a freak occurrence. While big trees fall, I’ve never heard of one falling on the passenger compartment of a car. I think people get hit by lightning more than big trees hitting cars. You can never protect against rare events. Similar rare events? Bird strikes on planes, engines sometime fall off airplanes and hit cars near airports. House size rocks fall off the cliff on hwy 199. Shooters, earthquakes, floods, road rage, the list goes on and on and will never stop because you can’t protect fully against a single freak event.

    • Pretty sure a person in a car was killed by a falling redwood on hwy 101 around a decade ago. Certainly not common though.

      One around 8 ft in diameter fell across the Avenue last Friday.

    • I agree, also I can’t believe the NON SUPPORT of the families going on right now in this feed.
      Praying for these families and there loss. Our family would say at least they were enjoying life on a beautiful drive.
      Our days are numbered before we are born nothing can change that.

  • I’m with you Ranger!
    Sue everybody concerned with those trees within reach of the road.
    I’ve lived here 72 years and those damned trees have always been nothing but obstacles between me and where I was trying to go.

    • cut all of the trees down, just level the whole forest. then we can all go whichever direction we want!

  • As sad as this is, it sure beats rotting to death in some cancer ward. Also comforting was the last thing they saw was our creators splendid beauty in our beautiful redwood forest, and it was over before they even knew what was happening. Deepest condolences to the family as this is never easy.

  • They were on a trip for her birthday and had three small children at home. They were very wonderful people and will be greatly missed.

  • My most sincere condolences to their families and friends. I pray that God will give them strength and love to help them through this most difficult time. Who would have thought that a drive through the redwood forest was going to turn deadly in the blink of an eye.

  • Any idea on who it was I live in Siskiyou County just curious

  • This is some real life Final Destination stuff. If you’ve ever seen the movies you know what I mean. Damn. RIP.

  • Very Sad Family Member

    Please be mindful that this couple’s children are reading all these posts.
    Thank you

    • A good samaritan

      Please let the children know that it was a beautiful day, that it happened very fast, and they barely knew what happened before it was over. We saw them as they passed us, seconds before it happened. There was no way their dad could have stopped or accelerated to safety in time. No way he could have knowingly avoided it. I didn’t know trees could fall that fast. It covered the entire road. There was no sign that it was about to happen when we walked through that exact spot 60 seconds earlier.

    • I am old and retired, with a lifetime of experience with trees. I have been doing a Tree Condition and Failure Assessment Study for over five years following a similar incident (not “accident”), and I am still learning (I’m not amazed at the level of misunderstanding displayed here, but when one is cocksure and likes to shoot from the hip, it happens). I’m very sad about your relatives, and sad for the family and friends. I used to survey trees for the U S Forest Service, among many other kinds of tree work, and I have come very close to death in the deep woods. But roads are different. The authorities’ first duty is to the public health and safety, and that includes landholders. The tree had been dead for a long time. Dead trees may remain standing for a long time before they finally fall, usually without warning. This tree was apparently leaning (see Google Street Map). I don’t want to invade your privacy, especially at this time, but if you want to post here that you would like me to share my observations with you when the time is right, I’ll be happy to do that. There is much more to the story here than meets the eye. I hope the authorities don’t destroy the evidence and that they collected contact information from all witnesses. This could have been prevented had management been proactive.

      Be safe, well, and happy as you can be under the circumstances. I know, I, too, am still grieving.

  • A redwood tree doesn’t just fall over in a matter of seconds, does it? Like, kaboom, you’re vaporized? Isn’t there some creaking and tottering that would serve as a warning?

    Either way, I am very sorry this happened.

    • A good samaritan

      I and my family saw it happen. It was incredibly, shockingly fast. The way the tree disintegrated, and landed on them, happened in about 3-5 seconds, followed by a cascade of further debris from the tree that took a little longer to settle…looking like a landslide of large shards and twigs cascading around them and overflowing to the other side of the road. There was no audible creaking or tottering…Just normal forest sounds until the tree collapsed with a giant crack and splintering sounds.

  • It’s a sad for the family and friends, yet it shows we do not control our future or even
    if we will have a future here on earth.

    Those appointed to pass on will with or without trees.

    Live everyday like it’s your last, enjoy it like this couple was doing.

    May they RIP. And even though it won’t be today, may their familys pain heal quickly and rejoice in the fond memories and good times.

  • Bad timing… They could have been out of their car walking and had this happen just as likely though.

    I heard about this thru word of mouth, and it was hard to find a article about it (thanks Kim for covering it).

    I was really disappointed by the comments…. Are we really this ignorant now a days?

    169 had a tree take out the power lines a few months ago. About a month before that another one did. Both trees were obviously going to fall, yet, they were not taken out. Right beside the one that fell is another looking as precarious.

    It would be nice if we, as a society, could someone realize hazards and mitigate them. Where is Huffman on this matter? Oh, he’s too concerned with another State flying a flag to have a voice here in this?

    Combine it all (and more) and I find we are in a sad state of mental well being in our country.

    169 needs to have the power lines moved over one valley so they don’t run by the road, then its far easier to mitigate trees that are hazards.

    199 needs to be made one way thru this area, with the other way going thru North Bank Road. This would require less stress (smaller path) thru the trees. Might not have prevented this death though…

    Last Chance grade should have been moved years and years ago. Would have cost far less in resources and money…

    Yet Huffman is still concerned with other states flying flags more than any of these issues…

    Yeh, sad state of mental health.

    By 2040 our national debt will have to double every year… let that sink in.

  • Brokenhearted family member

    My heart aches at the loss of these amazing, beautiful couple, both inside and out!! They are and forever will be missed, and nothing will ever be the same, I hope you kids know how loved all 5 of you are!!! Nobody will replace the 2 beautiful lives lost, but your not alone and me and its obviouse many many more will be and want to be there for you during these hard time, and after as well. Keep your heads up loves. And words cannot express how sorry I am for this loss. Xo

    • So sorry for this family’s loss & for the children. Also sad to see many comments about each other here! Where’s the compassion for the family members who may be reading these comments & need comfort! Prayers for this family.
      Donate & make a difference! I am.

    • We should all pull together for the children. Please reassure us that they are in loving, capable hands.

  • LifeCanBeBrutal

    This is very sad and a freak accident. Millions of people come to visit the redwoods to see their magnificent beauty. No one should be sued and the trees shouldn’t be cut down. Sometimes in life terrible things happen. You shouldn’t go out and kill all the sharks because one person is attacked. This is a tragedy for sure but sometimes you just have to leave it at that not go blaming everything and everyone. As sad as it is they were just at the wrong place wrong time.

  • I can’t imagine the horrible pain the children and family must be going through.

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