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The traditional landmarks dotted the sides of Highway 70 yet the roadway seemed almost surreal with the snow-packed roadways so clear normally.

Snowy day could mean anything for the CHP

One of Caltrans’ Quincy area plow trucks pushes the snow off the side of eastbound Highway 70. It’s been a busy, snowy morning for crews. Photos by Victoria Metcalf

Sometimes the best shifts are those that are relatively uneventful.

Those were California Highway Patrol officer Brad Logan’s parting words as he dropped me off at my car following a three-hour ride-along Feb. 15.

Winter wonderland

The pine trees and firs were heavy with mounds of snow as Logan and I headed east of Quincy in his cruiser.

Our world was a thick blanket of snow packing the highway and slowing traffic to a crawl until the sun came out and erased our calendar-like wonderland.

His day began at 5 a.m. before he could see the landscape beyond the reach of his headlights.

Snow flurries ran the gamut from brief and light to fast and furious as the morning progressed.

Logan responded to a non-injury incident just minutes before he came back to the office to pick me up.

I was waiting outside the CHP headquarters when I noted Logan’s cruiser. But instead of pulling around to pick me up, he drove straight to the back. Paperwork, I wondered, and went inside to wait.

It turned out the Logan went to the back for a change of clothing. During the last incident his uniform blue winter uniform was sprayed with dirty slush as he helped the woman get her vehicle free of the snowbank she slid into. Even his boots were soaked, he explained when he finally came around to greet me and our ride began. I’d never thought about it before, but an extra uniform probably comes in handy when officers don’t know from one hour to the next what they might be up against. Muddy slush was probably one of the less objectionable things they encounter.

The ride

The Spring Garden Overpass is generally an area for crashes whether it’s snowy or not. These two drivers seemed to be more aware of the roadway conditions than the CHP officer following them.

I love ride-alongs. There’s just something about being able to relax and let an experienced driver take charge. My husband’s a good driver, but then you get the husband and wife bit involved and it just isn’t the same. There’s no way I’m going to tell an officer to turn here or there, to drive faster or slow down for corners.

This wasn’t a morning for speed as we ventured out. The roads were packed with snow and Logan explained it wasn’t the kind of conditions where high speed to catch up to other drivers trying to speed would happen.

Estimated time of arrival would be delayed, especially if we were near Blairsden and the call was in Satley (which happened).

And despite our slow morning, the CHP had been quite busy through the week. Fifty-six CHP-involved reports came in to the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center. Those calls included everything from spinouts to a truck getting high-centered, to downed powerlines on roadways, to roads flooding and trees falling on them. The CHP also got reports of dogs running up and down some streets and two reports of horses running about on the highway.

Logan parked near the park and ride area at the Blairsden/Graeagle turnoff on Highway 89. We watched as various kinds of vehicles went by. He was watching to make sure the truckers who had chosen Highway 70 over Highway 80 and Donner Summit had chained up.

California Highway Patrol Officer Brad Logan has had more than a week of snowy roads and the problems often associated with them. Logan is stationed out of Quincy, but can end up in Loyalton, Quincy or other parts of the area.

Logan explained that officer James Stowe was on duty at the commercial vehicle station on Highway 70 near the Greenville Wye. That was the first opportunity to make truckers chain up before going any further. Logan explained that with the added traffic, their commander told them to go ahead and issue traffic tickets to any trucker who hadn’t bothered to obey the rules.

While reports involving the CHP come into the sheriff’s dispatch, the CHP also has its own dispatch center in Susanville and they can send out requests, too.

Who’s the man?

Logan can be considered a Quincy man. He spent most of his childhood here. He knows the area and has a memory of some of the big events that have occurred during his lifetime.

Logan knew early on that law enforcement would probably figure into his career. He did the research and decided that he liked what the CHP had to offer. He also liked the advancement opportunities.

When Logan graduated from the CHP Academy he was assigned to a different part of the state and then it was time to return. Both Logan and his brother Eric are on the CHP force.

Logan’s wife is a school nurse and he has a young daughter.

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