Olson Roadside Memorial Removed

Jun 16, 2011 7:48 PM

A sad morning for Richard Reynolds as he watches his hand made cross, pulled from the ground.. With only a hole left behind.. Much like the one in his heart, after losing his 16-year-old grandson Cody Olson.. Richard says, "He's always there. He'll always be there.."

Cody, his father Jamison, and 9-year-old half brother James, were killed June 4th, when their car went off highway 70 near Pulga.. Plunging into the Feather River.. Cody and James swam to safety, but got swept away trying to rescue their father Jamie. "Absolutely a hero! I don't know where that comes from.. Deep inside.. He was a hero," Richard says.

Reynolds built the monument to honor the three Olson men, and placed it at the crash site Sunday, June 5th along highway 70.. Shortly afterward he was contacted by CalTrans, and told that it would be removed..

CalTrans Pulga Maintenance Supervisor, Eric Cummings says, "It's a difficult part of our job.. But it's a state policy that road side memorials are not allowed.." And according to CalTrans the main reason is safety. They say it can cause distractions to passing motorists, or complicate highway maintenance work. Formal memorials are allowed, like bronze plaques or signs, which may be approved by government officials. And although CalTrans workers say this one had a good message behind it, it still had to come down. Eric says, "They're good people with good intentions and I think their message did get out.. And we have the same message.. We want people to be aware.."

And even if the monument can't stay on highway 70, reynolds hopes the message behind it will carry on. As for family members, they will always have the cross to remind them of the ones they loved and lost. Eric says, "We were able to keep it in tact and preserve it and I know they will find a good place for it.." Richard says, "It's okay.. It's alright.. I have the memorial.. I'm taking it with me.."


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