A New York middle school vice principal was killed after a tree fell on him while he visited with family during spring break.
Elias “Eli” Smith, 40, succumbed to his “multiple injuries” on Saturday in what the Carmel, Indiana Police Department called a freak accident.
He was the vice principal at the Math and Science Exploratory School, MS 447 in Brooklyn, and was vacationing at his parents’ home when the tragic incident happened, WABC reported.
According to PEOPLE, family members said he was sitting around a fire pit with his brother when it started to storm. Both men tried to run inside for cover, but Smith was pinned by a tree that fell in his parents’ yard.
A GoFundMe page has been created for him by his family and has raised more than $150,000.
The father of two was described as “one of a kind.”
“He had a brilliant, inquisitive mind, a quirky sense of humor, and a kind soul,” the page reads. “He was a devoted educator, and he made a positive impact on the lives of many through his work in the classroom and as an administrator.”
“He had an expansive range of passions and interests, and brought a spark of enthusiasm to any gathering of friends,” the page continues. “Most importantly, though, Eli was a family man … an incredibly loving and supportive husband to Lindsey and father to Evie and Beau.”
The page’s organizer, Thomas Sokol, says all donations received will go to his family.
“Eli’s sudden passing leaves a hole in the lives of many, but none will feel his absence more acutely than Lindsey, Evie, and Beau,” Sokol wrote. “They have an uncertain road ahead, and must deal with unspeakable grief while also sorting out how to move forward.”
“The Smith family needs the help and support of friends near and far now more than ever,” Sokol added. “Let’s show them the love that Eli always took the time to show us.”