NORTH BEND — A former North Bend High School student, killed in an accident on Highway 38 Saturday, was remembered Tuesday by faculty and students.
“We’re all devastated,” said Principal Bill Lucero.
Cadnelario "Junior" Rincon-Hamm, 18, of Coos Bay, was killed in a vehicle accident on Highway 38 in Douglas County. The World previously reported the fatal wreck Sunday based on a press release from the Oregon State Police.
The release stated that Rincon-Hamm left the roadway for unknown reasons and collided with a tree, rolled multiple times down a 100-foot embankment and overturned in the North Umpqua River. Rincon-Hamm suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Fatigue and weather conditions are being looked at by investigators as possible contributing factors of the crash.
“He was in our PEAK Program,” Lucero said, referencing one of the North Bend School District’s alternative programs. “He went from struggling to work super hard and accomplished great things.”
Rincon-Hamm graduated early, but later walked with the rest of his class last spring.
“He was in our PEAK program for two years, which has around 20 students, so he was close with the people there from teachers to students,” Lucero said.
Those who knew him will honor him during a Celebration of Life ceremony next week, which will only be open to those who either work or attend the school.
“There they will talk about him, get food and drinks, and celebrate the good things he accomplished, which was a lot,” Lucero said. “He had a lot of challenges and overcame all of them. He was in a good place and everything he did was to help other people. When you saw him, he was always smiling.”
Tuesday was the first day back to school after the holiday vacation and, according to Lucero, PEAK teachers took time to address the loss and make sure students were okay.
“The whole staff was notified and if any kid needs someone to talk to, they can come down to the counseling office,” Lucero said.
For high school counselor Heidi Roe, she knew Rincon-Hamm as a young man who set goals for himself and met them.
“He is an attribute to why you have an alternative program, to give people a fresh start,” she said. “He took his credit seriously and even his physical appearance changed, how he walked. It had that self-pride. I was shocked when Mr. Lucero told me about this loss because it’s huge. You’re talking about someone who deserves to have life before him, so it doesn’t make sense.”
OSP is continuing its investigation into the accident.