Hundreds mourn coach’s son

The Associated Press /

Published Jan 3, 2013 at 04:00AM

CLACKAMAS — Hundreds of people gathered spontaneously at the Clackamas High School baseball field after they learned about the death of the 7-year-old son of the baseball coach.

Jacob Arntson was riding with his father, John Arntson, on Interstate 84 Monday afternoon when their pickup slid on ice over the guardrail and into the Columbia River near Mosier, east of Hood River.

The 40-year-old driver wasn’t able to save his son and swam to shore. Divers recovered the boy’s body Monday night in about 40 feet of water.

Assistant baseball coach Tom Bohlman told KATU that many high school students knew Jacob. They left balloons, flowers and toys on the baseball field Tuesday in an improvised memorial.

“They loved him. Everybody was drawn to Jake,” Bohlman said. “All the high school kids out here liked to play with Jake. Jake would get into, like I said, mischief. Get into the dirt and rocks and mud and go home, and Mom and Dad would have to clean him up.”

He was a student at Oregon Trail Elementary, where his principal, Khaliyah Williams-Rodriguez, remembered him as a child who loved reading, sports and toys.

“He’s going to be remembered by his smile, his laughter and his hard work,” she said.