Police said 40-year-old John Arntson from Clackamas was driving westbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 69 when he lost control on icy road conditions. The pickup crashed into a guardrail and continued over the railing down a rocky embankment into the Columbia River. Arntson escaped the pickup but wasn’t able to save his son, 7-year-old Jacob Arntson.
An Oregon State Police trooper arrived on scene about five minutes later, but the pickup was submerged and not visible. Police said the right-hand westbound lane was blocked for about five hours. The boy’s body was recovered from the submerged pickup approximately five hours after the crash. The boy’s father was treated and released from a Hood River hospital.
Rescue efforts were assisted at the scene by Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, Hood River Fire Department, Wyeast Fire Department, Hood River Medic 2, and Oregon Department of Transportation. Boats from both sheriff departments assisted in the recovery. OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
The Arntson family asked OSP to release the following statement:
“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, and will be setting up a fund in memory of Jake in the days ahead. We’ll pass along those details soon.
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”
Oregon State Police said the Arntson family is not speaking with media at this time.