Editor’s note: Paul Quintana died April 6 when he was hit by driver Andrew Luttrell while on his motorcycle on George Washington Way in Richland. Luttrell, who told police he’d taken his eyes off the road to adjust his car’s in-dash CD player, killed himself two weeks later. The tragic one-two punch has left two families grieving, two circles of friends hurting, and the Herald is profiling both men. Here is Luttrell’s story; Quintana’s can be found here.
Andrew Luttrell was something of a human jukebox.
He could hear a song on the radio and then pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and play it.
He wouldn’t stumble, wouldn’t grope around on the strings or the keys before finding the melody. He’d just play it. He was that good.
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“I love music, but I acknowledge that he loved music more than I could even fathom,” said his older brother, Jeff. “He was always tapping his legs, even just standing there talking to someone. He’d spend a lot of time not only writing his own music, but figuring out other bands’ music. If there was a movie playing, he’d figure out the soundtrack just by listening.”
Luttrell, 31, played in several local bands over the years, from Felix Amo to Run From Cover.
Born in Richland and raised in Kennewick, he was the second-oldest of Stuart and Marilee Luttrell’s four children. Along with Jeff, his other siblings are Matthew and Amy.
Andrew Luttrell was home-schooled through seventh grade and then went onto Liberty Christian and Kamiakin High School. He earned an associate’s degree from Columbia Basin College.
Andy was the kindest person. He would never say anything bad, even to people at their worst point. After the accident, Andy was at his worst point. He was carrying a lot of guilt.
Cassandra Carlson, friend
At the time of his death, he was working at Caterpillar Cafe and Starbucks — and of course playing music.
His indie pop rock band, Run From Cover, was re-forming into the new group Indo Lux, and he also was preparing for a gig with brother Jeff and sister-in-law Krystle.
On stage, Luttrell primarily had a bass guitar in hand, but his abilities extended far beyond that one instrument. He also played piano, guitar, drums, saxophone and banjo.
Luttrell and his friends spent countless hours making music. He and Zac Mason met at about age 9, and before long they were writing songs together.
Eventually, Luttrell, Mason and another pal, Stephen Donley, began leading worship at Columbia Foursquare Church and for a multi-church youth group.
They also spent hours making short movies, which often were tied to the week’s sermon and played at church. Luttrell frequently drew big laughs with his slapstick comedy moves.
Another longtime friend, Cameron Mills, also recalled Luttrell’s penchant for comedy.
The two were in choir together at Kamiakin, and they were paired up to sing Gypsy Rover in competition. “Andy sang it so silly and so over-the-top that we couldn’t get through it,” Mills said.
They ended up with a zero in the competition, but they formed a lasting bond.
The two went their separate ways after high school, but they stayed in touch, growing even closer when Mills returned to the Tri-Cities.
They played together in The Downtrodden Foreign Family Band.
Luttrell was a skilled musician, but he never hogged the spotlight on stage, Mills said.
“He was a natural. He always showed restraint in his musicianship,” Mills said.
With Mason and Donley, Luttrell formed Run From Cover, which found success in the Tri-Cities and beyond.
The guys moved to Seattle a couple years ago to turn up the dial on their music, but they ended up suffering some setbacks, including having thousands of dollars in equipment stolen.
They eventually made their way back to the Tri-Cities. The friends were just beginning to work on Indo Lux.
Along with Luttrell’s musical talent and sense of humor, loved ones also pointed to his gentleness and kindness.
He was the kind of guy who’d help you move, who’d listen to you vent for hours, who’d make sure you knew that he loved you, they said.
“He was never one of those people who, if you’d call with a problem, they’d ghost you or have some sort of excuse. He’d never have an excuse. He’d always help you,” Mills said.
Mason said Luttrell was sensitive, especially to people who were hurting. His heart was wide open.
Several months ago, Jeff and Krystle welcomed a baby boy, Noah. The family gathered not long after, and Luttrell took the baby in his arms — his first time holding Noah outside the hospital.
Cradling the infant, Luttrell started to weep. “My heart grew about 20 times larger in that moment, seeing his love for his nephew,” Krystle said.
Luttrell also was known for his hugs. “When we’d go on tour or at festivals — you’d see those ‘free hugs’ signs. He would take every single free hug,” Mason said. “Hugs were one of his favorite things.”
I think as time goes on, I’m going to realize more and more that he’s not going to come walking through that door. That’s tough to even think about right now.
Jeff Luttrell, brother
Mason said Luttrell “was very loved. He did a lot of good things, he made a lot of people laugh and he gave a lot of hugs.”
Loved ones said he was devastated by the wreck and Paul Quintana’s death.
Cassandra Carlson, who dated Luttrell for two years after meeting him at a show in 2013, said, “Andy was the kindest person. He would never say anything bad, even to people at their worst point. After the accident, Andy was at his worst point. He was carrying a lot of guilt.”
Like many others, she’s brokenhearted he’s gone.
“There is still so much I wish I had time to tell him or share with him,” Carlson said. “I wasn’t done being Andy’s friend, loving him or having him in my life in some way.”
Mason said he likes to think about Luttrell laughing, about all the fun they had. Mills thinks of his friend’s blue eyes, which “maybe more than most people’s, really gave him away.”
Jeff Luttrell said he hopes his brother is remembered for the special person he was.
“There were often birthdays or events where we’d get together, and he’d have to show up at the end of the night (because of work or other obligations). It never really felt like the party got started until he walked in,” Jeff said. “I think as time goes on, I’m going to realize more and more that he’s not going to come walking through that door. That’s tough to even think about right now.
“I loved him very much,” he said. “Very much.”