|Joshua Leland Siegert *Photo Provided by Family|
A memorial sobriety checkpoint was dedicated to the family of Joshua Leland Siegert this past Saturday in Park Hall. The checkpoint was held in close proximity to where Siegert was killed in a one-car accident in 2003, after the car he was a passenger in drifted off the road and crashed. The driver of the car had been drinking prior to the accident.
The dedication ceremony was held at Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Leonardtown. Sheriff Tim Cameron addressed the officers before Mrs. Siegert read a letter expressing her thanks to the deputies. Her letter read, “Sobriety checkpoints do more than just “catch” people that have been drinking – the advantage to advertising and using checkpoints is to PREVENT people from driving under the influence. Our hope is that it makes people think before they get behind the wheel of a car.” After Mrs. Siegert had read the letter, Captain Steve Hall presented the family with a plaque in memory of Joshua Seigert. Before leaving to set up the checkpoint, Pastor Larry Crabtree offered a prayer to the family and the deputies working the checkpoint that day.
March 12, 2003, was to have been a special day for Joshua Siegert. He played baseball for St. Mary’s College, and he was scheduled to start for the first time in a game that Saturday. Wednesday night, March 11, Joshua and other friends decided to let off steam prior to the big day and headed for a local bar near their college. On the way back home, their car drifted into the northbound lane, struck a concrete culvert, went airborne and hit a utility pole. When rescue units arrived on the scene, both the driver and Joshua were deceased. Joshua was only twenty-one years old.
Joshua had also been a student teacher at Piney Point Elementary, and a tree there has been dedicated in his honor, as well. According to his father, “Joshua had a love for life and was content with where he was, and what he was doing…his passion was baseball.” The number 12 holds double significance for Josh's parents, Michael and Maryanne Siegert. Not only was it the date of his death, but also his jersey number, the jersey that his parents still wear in his memory.
Since their son's untimely death, the Siegerts have been engaged in an ongoing mission to create awareness of the fatal effects of drinking and driving. Mr. Siegert now speaks at proms and assemblies throughout Howard County, Josh's home, in an effort to remind students of the consequences of their actions.
The dedication ceremony marked the first time Mr. and Mrs. Siegert had returned to Leonardtown since they made the trip to pick up Josh's personal effects on that fateful spring evening.
“It’s an issue that will never go away,” says Mr. Siegert. “You can’t stop it, but we can make a difference on an individual basis.”
“Sobriety checkpoints help to educate, deter, and enforce drunk driving laws. The dedication of the checkpoint to Joshua, his mother and father in attendance with us at the briefing, and the realization that one of our own present was Joshua’s teammate and friend made the powerful event memorable. We cannot bring Joshua Siegert back, but we can continue to educate the community on the dangers of operating a motor vehicle while impaired,” said Sheriff Cameron.
At the end of her speech Mrs. Seigert said, “We are honored and proud to be here because, once again, something very good comes from something horribly bad.”
The Joshua Leland Siegert Memorial Scholarship for Future Educators is currently the largest privately funded scholarship at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and provides 2-3 $1,250 scholarships per year to students in the Masters of Arts and Teaching program. The scholarship is funded through private donations, selling 1,300 tickets to an Oriole game in 2003, and donations from students in the class of 2004. Visit the website, http://www.smcm.edu/support/thanks-recognition/scholarships, for more information.