Wednesday May 21 2008
CHP's new digs: Andy Stevens Drive
By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein
Officials dedicate new signs at Yolo ceremony
WOODLAND – The memory of fallen CHP officer Andy Stevens – already indelibly stamped in the minds of those who knew him – was made a permanent part of the city Wednesday as officials here dedicated their latest street: Andrew Stevens Drive. The street, formerly Wintun Drive, is home to the Yolo County CHP office where Stevens, of Roseville, was based when he was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 17, 2005, on a county road just outside Woodland. With Stevens’ family looking on, law enforcement and Woodland city officials gathered to unveil the sign in front of the office, which also saw its address change to 13739 – Stevens’ badge number. “I’m happy to welcome you to the new CHP office at 13739 Andrew Stevens Drive,” CHP commander Darren Iketani told attendees. Getting the sign changed has been in the works for two years, said Woodland City Councilman and Yolo County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Monroe, who spearheaded the street naming effort. But the city held off on the action until the trial was over to avoid the possibility of tainting a jury. Both suspects in the case were recently found guilty. “We wanted to do something, wanted to say something,” Monroe said. “This really sends a message of how important law enforcement is to us, and that this community will not forget Andy Stevens.” “Words cannot explain it,” John Stevens, Andrew’s father, said after family members were presented with the street sign. “We’re very proud. He would be so happy.” Officials said it was the first time a CHP office had taken a fallen officer’s badge number for its address. “It is unique,” Assisant CHP Commissioner Kevin Green said. “And what it represents is this community and the respect they have for sacrifice that Andy made. “Andy was proud to serve the people of Woodland, the people of the county of Yolo,” he added. “And Andy gave his life for the people of this community.” City officials approached the street’s former namesake, the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians, prior to the decision, Munroe said. They were welcoming to the idea, and eventually saw another street named for them – a longer road in a new subdivision, he said. In addition, the U.S. Postal Service had to sign off on the name change. The only other address on the street, a nearby auto parts store, was also enthusiastic. “He said, ‘I loved that guy. I don’t mind paying the extra money to change over my letterhead,’” Munroe said. At Monday’s ceremony, speakers described how Stevens’ sacrifice affected the city. Monroe said the street renaming is “the least we could do” to honor that. “This tragedy really struck our community hard; it’s hard to describe,” he said. “Losing Andy was like losing one of our own.” Stevens, 37, was shot and killed by Brendt Anthony Volarvich, 22, also of Roseville, during a traffic stop. Jurors in the case found him guilty of first-degree murder and recommended the death penalty for Volarvich earlier this month. A co-defendant, Greg Zielesch, was also convicted of first-degree murder and faces 25 years to life in prison.