A single-vehicle crash Wednesday in Emmitsburg damaged the town’s statue of a World War I soldier at the end of West Main Street, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.
The driver lost control of the vehicle in the rain Wednesday night, sliding off the road and into the statue, according to Deputy 1st Class Amanda Hatcher, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.
The driver refused medical treatment on the scene, and the vehicle was towed. Alcohol or drugs did not appear to be a factor in the crash, Hatcher said.
A town employee confirmed that the statue was damaged and repairs are underway, but she declined to comment further about the extent of the damage or when repairs would be finished.
Standing roughly 13 feet tall, the statue depicts a doughboy, the popular name for a WWI foot soldier, and honors those who fought in foreign wars. Similar statues are displayed across the country; Emmitsburg’s doughboy stands on the front lawn of Emmit House on West Main Street.
The doughboy captured in the statue is walking between tree stumps, his left boot planted firmly on the ground, the right toe touching the ground and the rest of the boot upraised in a marching pose. The right arm is raised, holding a hand grenade and the left hand clutches a rifle with a bayonet pointed horizontally.
Susanne Plunkard, who is not an Emmitsburg resident but passes through the town twice daily, said the statue was an important landmark for the town, and she expressed her concern over the damage.
“World War I might have been years ago, and many people may have forgotten the sacrifices the people made, both the soldiers and their families, but the families need to know they are not forgotten. ... These people deserve to be respected, and this statue was a great symbol of that respect. I truly hope they rebuild it quickly,” Plunkard wrote in an email.