Royal Oak Mom Remembers Children Who Died in Rollover: ‘My Kids Were My Life’
More than three months after her children were killed in a tragic rollover crash, Christie Siegel’s life still revolves around her children, Ashley and Jordan. Siegel stays busy raising money for causes that affect the lives of children in Royal Oak.
Despite the tragic loss of her two children, people are always telling Christie Siegel, “You’re so strong!”
“I don’t always feel like I am very strong, but I stay so busy,” Siegel said. “I still spend my life around kids.”
Siegel’s children—Jordan Siegel, 14, and Ashley, 11—were killed when the SUV driven by their stepmother, Dawn Siegel, rolled several times along southbound U.S. 23 in Pittsfield Township shortly before 3 p.m. on June 22.
The siblings, who attended Royal Oak Middle School, were involved in soccer and lacrosse, plus Jordan was a quarterback and Ashley was a cheerleader. Siegel always found herself somewhere in the stands —and still does.
Siegel attended the Aug. 31 Oak Bowl at Royal Oak High School to share a moment of silence for Jordan and Ashley with the Royal Oak Chargers family. The Chargers’ cheerleaders wore black bands on their vests and the players' helmet had stickers with the letters “J & A.”
“My kids were my life,” Siegel said proudly, and then choked back tears.
Outpouring of tributes
“The Royal Oak community has been wonderful,” Siegel said. “People’s thoughtfulness and support mean so much to me.”
In addition to the football tribute, Royal Oak Youth Lacrosse has retired Jordan’s No. 23, and the Royal Oak Youth Soccer Association has dedicated its season to Ashley. At the middle school and high school, students are selling bracelets that read “Ashley & Jordan Siegel” in honor of the siblings.
“Oct. 6 is Ashley’s birthday, and the Lindell Ice Arena is letting us have the whole rink for Ashley’s friends,” Siegel said.
She is still working out the details, but she plans to have a true celebration of Ashley’s life—complete with invitations and birthday cake—and is hoping to do something similar to celebrate Jordan’s life on his birthday next June.
A fun/walk in the Siegel children’s name is also in the works, Siegel said.
“There is always a lot of stuff going on. People know their story because of all the media attention, so their deaths have been more touching,” she said.
Siegel, who lived in Royal Oak for 10 years, moved to Novi in July, but she left many of Jordan and Ashley’s belongings in the city they grew up in.
“Before I moved, I opened the children’s bedrooms to their friends,” Siegel said. “I didn’t want to just give their things away to a charity. I wanted their things to have meaning to someone.”
While Siegel worked around the house, friends of the siblings stopped by and hung out in the brother and sister’s bedrooms where she could hear them talking, laughing and crying.
“I told them they could take whatever they wanted to remember them by,” she said.
When she moved she only had two small boxes of Jordan and Ashley’s things to take with her. Gone were the stuffed animals, Xbox, sports equipment and clothing.
There is a girl who wears all of Ashley’s clothes and a boy that uses Jordan’s lacrosse equipment, and for that Siegel is honored, she said.
Pub crawl scholarship fundraiser
Shortly after the accident, the Ashley & Jordan Siegel Scholarship Fund was established by family and friends to give scholarships to children in the Royal Oak area who can’t afford to play sports.
"The community has been so amazing. I wanted to give something back to the organizations that meant so much to my kids," Siegel said.
This weekend, friends, family and members of the business community hope to raise money for those athletic scholarships by hosting the First Annual Ashley & Jordan Siegel Scholarship Fund Pub Crawl. The Pub Crawl begins at noon Saturday, Sept. 15 at and runs until 5 p.m.
Some of Ashley’s friends are helping with the registration, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at Rock on Third, 112 E. Third, and Woody’s Diner, located at 208 W. 5th Street, Siegel said.
A $20 donation is requested. Contributors will receive a wristband and discounts at participating businesses.
Almost 20 restaurants and bars across Royal Oak are joining in the cause, offering food and beverage specials. Participating businesses include: Rock on Third, Royal Oak Brewery, Gemmayze, Fifth Avenue, Pronto, D’Amatos, Ye Olde Saloon, Gusoline Alley, Tom’s Oyster Bar, Woody’s Diner, Oxford Inn, BlackFinn, Emagine, Cantina Diablo's, Red Fox, Café Muse, Lily’s Seafood, Andiamo Italia (3-5 p.m.) and Sangria. An after party will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Royal Oak Elks Lodge, 2401 Fourth Street, featuring the band “The Copper Souls.”
A raffle will be hosted at 7:30 p.m. at Woody’s Diner, which includes an autographed football by Matt Stafford of the Detroit Lions, Siegel said. Participants need not be present to win.
For those interested in supporting the cause, donations may also be sent directly to Royal Oak Youth Assistance, 225 S. Troy St., Suite 10, Royal Oak, MI 48067. Make checks payable to “Jordan & Ashley Siegel Scholarship Fund.”