SILETZ — Hundreds of mourners gathered in Siletz Thursday night for a vigil honoring Toledo High School sophomore Robert Thompson-Kirkland, who died in a car accident Wednesday night on Highway 229 near milepost three.
Luke Frechette, commonly known in the community as “Pastor Luke,” spoke words of comfort to the crowd gathered at Siletz Valley Early College Academy, leading the group in prayer on the rain-soaked football field.
“As far as family and community, everyone here is so tightly knit,” Frechette said of the gathering. “It’s really good for the community to show that strength.”
Thompson-Kirkland, known as Robby to friends and family, was 16 when he died June 5 as a passenger in a pickup truck that ran off the road and crashed, expelling Thompson-Kirkland from the pickup truck. First responders arrived and attempted life-saving measures on the boy, but he was pronounced deceased at the scene. The two other boys were transported to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital for their injuries.
After news broke late Thursday and early Friday about Thompson-Kirkland’s death, the Lincoln County School District put support measures in place for students who were affected by the tragedy.
Those who knew Thompson-Kirkland described him as an active teenager. Riding quads and motorcycles were interests of his, and he loved fishing and hunting.
“I loved Robby,” said family friend Leslie McCord. “He was a great kid.”
The Toledo High student wanted to stay in the area after high school, said Kenyon McCord, Kirkland’s half-brother.
“He wanted to become a fisherman,” Kenyon said.
While not everyone at the vigil Thursday night knew Thompson-Kirkland personally, many came to support others in the community who did.
“I’m here for the other kids in the community,” said local man Rob Duprau. “The community is gathering together as one. Eddyville, Siletz, Toledo, we’re all here as one group.”