Lake Oswego Jr High 6th-grader dies in crash

Thomas William Graham was a passenger in car when a tree fell on it during a high wind storm

Thomas William Graham in a recent photo provided by the Lake Oswego School District, Dec. 12, 2014
Thomas William Graham in a recent photo provided by the Lake Oswego School District, Dec. 12, 2014

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN 6) — An 11-year-old who died when a tree fell on the car his mother was driving was a 6th-grader at Lake Oswego Junior High.

Thomas William Graham was in the car with his mother, Susan, as they drove down SW Terwilliger Boulevard around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. A tree fell on their car which caused it to swerve and it slammed into a second tree.

Firefighters were called to the scene, but their response time was delayed by other trees that had fallen and blocked the road during the high wind storm.

A counseling team is in place for Lake Oswego Junior High students. The school’s principal, Dr. Robert Caplinger, sent a letter home to parents informing them of the accident and the availability of counselors.

Neighbors told KOIN 6 News the family is from the UK and Thomas was their only child. The Grahams, neighbors said, are a sweet family.

Rose Tanz has lived in this area of Southwest Portland for 45 years and described Thursday’s storm as “frightening.”

“It was about 5, 5:10 (p.m.) and all of a sudden a very strong gust hit the window, and that really scared me,” Tanz told KOIN 6 News.

About that same time, investigators said, strong winds caused a tree to topple on Susan Graham’s car. That made her swerve and she hit another tree.

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