A 7-year-old Clackamas boy died after his father lost control of their pickup truck on icy Interstate 84 Monday afternoon, sending it crashing through a guardrail and plunging into the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon State Police said. His father managed to swim to shore.
A dive team from the Skamania County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of Jacob Roy Arntson from the submerged pickup about five hours after the crash, a mile west of Mosier.
The boy's father was treated and released from a Hood River hospital.
Around 4:20 p.m., a 2005 Toyota Tundra pickup driven by John Arntson, 40, of Clackamas, was westbound on I-84 near milepost 69 when he lost control on icy road conditions, troopers said.
The pickup crashed into a guardrail and continued over the railing down a rocky embankment into the Columbia River.
Arntson escaped the pickup but was unable to save his son, 7-year-old Jacob Roy Arntson, OSP said.
An OSP trooper arrived on scene about five minutes later, but the pickup was submerged and not visible. Several other responding agencies, including two boats and the Skamania County, Washington Sheriff's Office Dive Rescue Team, came to assist.
The boy's body was recovered at 9:30 p.m. after the pickup was found by divers about 20 yards from shore, in about 40 feet of water.
John Arntson was taken to a Hood River hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
As OSP continues its investigation, the Arntson family asked the agency 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"
The right-hand westbound lane was blocked for about five hours. OSP troopers from The Dalles Area Command office are continuing the investigation.
OSP was 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 ODOT. Boats from both sheriff departments assisted in the recovery.