What Could You Do

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"WHAT COULD YOU DO"

A Story of Andy

 Michael J. Bogdan
California Highway Patrol
Motor Carrier Specialist I (Retired)
June 1, 1993 – November 30, 2017

 November 17, 2005 was a sunny and warm autumn day with blue skies in Sacramento, CA. I was performing a “BIT terminal inspection” at Teichert Corporation on Bradshaw Rd and was almost finished with my “inspection sample” of the vehicles. Around 13:30 or 14:00 I called my office for some information that I could have waited until later to gather myself. I knew the specialist on phone duty that day and when I identified myself, he blurted out that Andy Stevens had just been killed during a traffic stop. I felt as if I’d been kicked in the groin. Disconnecting the phone call I guess I was just walking in circles when a Teichert representative came outside to see if I was ok. No, I wasn’t. Later, at home in my “cave” where I did my writing and musical recording, I just sat reflecting on the years while strumming a few chords on my guitar. I really needed to channel my grief into something that I never imagined I would be working on again almost 14 years later. So, as a cathartic exercise around 23:30, I picked up a pencil and began writing. By 00:30 on November 18, I had three verses and the chorus completed. Following a few hours of restless sleep, the fourth verse came into being around 08:00 the next morning. I recorded the song over the next three days with the intention of giving a copy of the song to Andy’s widow right after the funeral. Looking back, that probably wasn’t a very good idea and although I was unsuccessful in getting the song to her, writing the lyrics did help me with my grief. It would be quite some time before she might be ready to hear it.
Every once in a while, something occurs that has a profound effect on your memory and your life. These “things” are too numerous to list here and although everyone’s list is different, the loss of a parent, child, spouse, favorite pet or a friend will stay with you forever. They say that time heals all wounds. I don’t believe that. Time may lessen the pain felt during the immediate days, weeks, months or years following that loss but that pain never fully goes away. Frequently when I’m driving somewhere on a county road, I have come across a CHP commercial unit who has a commercial vehicle pulled over for a quick Level 2 or 3 inspection and the memory of an old co-worker and friend rises to the surface. Andy Stevens was the kind of person everyone (sometimes even the bad guys) wanted to be. To me he was one of the kindest, smartest, funniest and most reliable men I’ve ever known. During my almost quarter century working for the California Highway Patrol in non-uniformed “off highway” commercial vehicle enforcement, I’ve known and worked with many on the uniformed side. Working with Andy out of the Woodland office was an experience, and now a memory, I will cherish until the day I die.
So fast forward 15 years and we come to my current day effort to memorialize a friend with a song. I hope you all enjoy this video.
Rest in Peace, Andy

Officer Andrew Todd “Andy” Stevens
California Highway Patrol, CA
EOW: Thursday, November 17, 2005

 

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