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Clackamas coach's son drowns in Columbia River crash

by: COURTESY: OREGON STATE POLICE - A 7-year-old Clackamas boy died on New Years Eve after a pickup truck he was riding in with his father lost control on an icy section of Interstate 84 and went into the Columbia River.A 7-year-old Clackamas boy died on New Year’s Eve after a pickup truck he was riding in with his father lost control on an icy section of Interstate 84 and went into the Columbia River.

Oregon State Police troopers said that the body of Jacob Roy Arntson was recovered from the submerged truck by divers at 9:30 p.m. Monday, over five hours after the crash occurred.

According to OSP, at about 4:20 p.m., Arntson’s father, 40-year-old John G. Arnston, was driving a 2005 Toyota Tundra west on I-84 when the truck slid on the icy road, about one mile west of Mosier. It crashed through the guardrail, went over the railing, down a rocky embankment and into the river. John Arnston was able to swim to shore, but was unable to save his son who went to Oregon Trail Elementary School in Clackamas.

by: COURTESY: ARNTSON FAMILY - Jacob Roy Arntson, a 7-year-old Clackamas boy, died on New Years Eve after a pickup truck he was riding in with his father lost control.The boy’s body was found by divers with the Skamania and Washington County sheriff’s offices. He was located about 20 yards from shore, in about 40-feet of water, OSP troopers said.

His father was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released.

by: FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - John Arnston leads the Clackamas High School baseball team to its first victory in school history in 2008. He and his team repeated the feat in 2010.Arntson has been a social studies teacher and head baseball coach at Clackamas High School for the past 17 years. He is also the defensive coordinator in football.

CHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Jeff Erdman said that the Arnstons have brought “nothing but good” to the school in their many years of involvement.

Assistant baseball coach Tom Bohlman said he’s had an emotional past few days helping the Arntson make arrangements and remembering how Jake started coming out to the field when he was 4. Jake would try to distract the players, so Bohlman named the “Jake Rule”: A coach would have to take Jake for a walk if another coach wanted to keep the attention of players.

“As his dad would say best, Jake was a 100 miles an hour with his hair on fire,” Bohlman said. “Sometimes he would ride his bike over the pitcher’s mound, so it was all those little things that made us fall in love with him.”

About 200 people, including current and former Clackamas High School athletes, held a vigil by the baseball field Tuesday afternoon. CHS Principal Christine Garcia said the many flowers, toys and books left at a memorial on the field will stay as long as weather allows.

The family released the following statement Tuesday:

“Dear friends, family, and all of you who have reached out to us in the Clackamas community and beyond. By now you might have heard that our beloved son and brother, Jacob Roy Arntson, died last night in a traffic accident east of Hood River. Jake was just 7 years old, but in those 7 years he brought so much light into our world and touched so many lives as a friend and classmate. He was a wonderful child, and we miss him so much.

“We will be making arrangements through Bateman's Funeral Home...

Our family has felt your support and your love during these difficult hours. Your caring means more to us than we can say, and we are so grateful. We know you join us in honoring Jake’s memory, remembering his bright eyes and big smile.

Jake: we love you forever.

The Arntson Family.

by: COURTESY: JEFF ERDMAN - Many flowers, toys and books left at a memorial on the Clackamas High School field will stay as long as weather allows.A celebration of life is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 6. at 1 p.m. at CHS. In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family requests donations to the Jacob R. Arntson Memorial Foundation. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo branch. Proceeds will help offset funeral costs, and remaining funds will be used for a charitable donation to honor Jake's memory.

“We are deeply grateful for all of the heartfelt condolences from across our community. The support and love we have felt over the past two days has been amazing,” the Arntson Family said in announcing the time of the celebration of life on Thursday.

The crash shut down one of the I-84 westbound lanes for five hours. The Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River Fire Department, Wyeast Fire Department, Hood River Medic 2 and the Oregon Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.

OSP is continuing to investigate the incident.

KOIN Local 6 contributed to this report.




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