Thousands remember boy, 7, who died in Columbia River crash

Thousands remember boy, 7, who died in Columbia River crash »Play Video
Thousands gathered to remember Jake Arntson at Clackamas High School on Sunday.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Thousands gathered Sunday to remember a 7-year-old boy who died when his father’s truck slipped off the freeway and landed in the Columbia River.

Jake Arntson died in the crash near Mosier, Ore. on Monday. He and his father were on their way back from visiting Jake’s uncle in Montana when the truck slipped on ice on Interstate 84.

His father, John Arntson, escaped and swam to shore. He wasn't able to save his son.

Sunday, Jake’s family and friends remembered him at a memorial at Clackamas High School, where his father is the baseball coach. More than 2,000 people attended.

“I’ve never really experienced something like this before, and you know, you’re thankful for all the support and the prayers,” said Tom Bohlman, John Arntson’s assistant coach.

Speakers remembered Jake as a bright, energetic boy who left a big impression on his kindergarten teacher.

“He was so happy and proud, carrying his first grade picture to me,” said Jake’s kindergarten teacher Debbi Tubergen. “I got one of those special hugs and smiles that only Jake was famous for.”

Some of those who attended wore special shirts bearing Jake’s name and flag football number. The grass outside the Clackamas High School gym also carries Jake’s name and football number.

“Just such a smiley, mischievous, energetic little kid that just – he was like a little brother to all these kids out here,” said Jennifer Harris.

“Jake was a beacon of God’s goodness and love to everyone he knew,” said Tubergen. “He may have only been seven years old, but to me and his classmates Jake was a superhero.”

Friends, family and community members raised $12,000 at a fundraiser on Friday to help pay for funeral costs. His family said they will donate any money left over to charity.