Samuel Siguenza may not have been close to his own family but, to his neighbors, he was like one of their own. That's why they were crushed to learn of his death, Dec. 20, while riding his motorcycle.
"We were heartbroken," said Allen Boichot. "It's just not the same without him here."
Siguenza, 50, of Chantilly's Brookfield community, was a motorcycle enthusiast and was riding a classic, 1993 Harley Davidson north on Route 15 in Haymarket when the tragedy occurred. It was 3:19 p.m. and, according to Prince William County police, a southbound 1999 Ford Taurus reportedly crossed the double yellow lines and struck him.
Police charged Thomas D. Mote II, 56, of The Plains with reckless driving and failure to maintain control of his vehicle — both misdemeanors. He was uninjured.
"This guy struck [Siguenza] basically head on," said police spokesman John Bogert. "Speed and alcohol weren't factors, so they're checking the vehicle for any mechanical problems."
A U.S. citizen, Siguenza had lived in Brookfield 12 years. He and his friend and neighbor, Wilmer Belmonte, were partners in a contracting and construction business until last year when they each started their own companies. But they remained close friends.
Siguenza had a 20-something son, Alex, in Peru, and sisters and a brother in El Salvador. "But he wasn't close with his family," said Belmonte. "So we were his family in the neighborhood," said Boichot.
AND IF ANY of them ever needed help with anything, they said, Siguenza was right there lending a hand. "He was just a real, real, nice guy," said Boichot. "We were all devastated by his death."
Added his wife Paula: "He always had a wave and was very friendly. My 16-year-old son Bobby said Samuel was too young to die. And he said, 'I hope there's a heaven and he's there.'"
Allen Boichot said the neighbors first learned of his death that night when members of the Prince William police crash-investigations team knocked on doors in the neighborhood, trying to get in touch with Siguenza's family.
Belmonte last saw him a day or two before the accident, when Siguenza was coming home from work. "We said hello, and that was it," he said. "He always decorated a Christmas tree outside his house, and I teased him that it looked like a spider, but he liked it."
However, the night of Dec. 20, the lights were dark and Belmonte became worried. Then he saw police in the neighborhood and told his son Daniel he thought something had happened, but he didn't know what.
"The next morning, one of my neighbors told me about Samuel and I couldn't believe it," said Belmonte. "It shocked me. They took him to Potomac Hospital and I went to see him there. I called and told one of his workers the news."
Eventually, both Siguenza's brother and son were notified, and they came here to settle his affairs and make funeral arrangements. Viewing is this Friday, Jan. 12, at Philip Rinaldi Funeral Service in Silver Spring, Md., followed by funeral services Saturday and burial at Heaven's Door Cemetery in Silver Spring.
MEANWHILE, on Sunday, Belmonte recalled happy times he and his buddy had shared. "Samuel had two motorcycles, both Harleys, and he loved to ride them after work — especially in spring and summer. I used to go with him sometimes — even all the way to Shenandoah — places where there weren't many cars because he knew it was dangerous in the city."
Siguenza also enjoyed fixing cars and motorcycles and working on his house. "He rebuilt his whole house," said Allen Boichot. "He redid the walls and roof and added onto it." Siguenza also loved singing, and Belmonte said he sang in the car when they used to travel to jobs together throughout Virginia and Maryland.
"He'd sing rock and roll and Spanish Bolero music, and he had a good voice," said Belmonte. "But sometimes, when he'd forget the words, he'd say something else and make me laugh. He was a funny person."
Belmonte said Siguenza worked hard and teased him [Belmonte] about being nine years younger. Said Belmonte: "He'd tell me to relax and take a break." Siguenza also watched out for the neighborhood children and would yell at speeding cars to slow down when they were outside playing.
Now, said Belmonte, "I can't accept that he's gone. For so long, we were together. We'd go out to dinner, play pool or work on motorcycles and his house." Tears spilling over, Belmonte said, "I'm saddened every time I pass the house; I miss him a lot."