Crime

Suspect in fatal Richland motorcycle crash kills himself by jumping off bridge

Scene of April 6 fatal accident in Richland

A three-way collision between a motorcycle, car and delivery truck April 6 shut down George Washington Way.
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A three-way collision between a motorcycle, car and delivery truck April 6 shut down George Washington Way.

A Richland driver under investigation for killing a motorcyclist took his own life Friday by jumping off a bridge.

Andrew R. Luttrell, 31, was alone when he parked a pickup on the shoulder in the middle of the Interstate 82 bridge north of Selah, said Yakima County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Jackson.

Witnesses said Luttrell got out of the truck at 2:40 p.m., ran and jumped over the guardrail at the edge of the Fred G. Redmon Bridge, Jackson told the Herald.

The twin arch bridge, 1 1/2 miles south of the freeway rest area, crosses Selah Creek. The dry canyon is 325 feet below.

Three motorists stopped at the scene and waited for deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers to arrive, Jackson said.

Luttrell’s body was recovered a couple of hours later. Richland police notified relatives of his death, Jackson said.

Luttrell played bass and keyboards and was the backup vocalist for Run From Cover, an alternative rock band comprised of Tri-City natives, according to Herald archives.

He currently was the focus of a vehicular homicide investigation for an April 6 crash on George Washington Way in front of the Richland Police Department.

Paul H. Quintana, 34, of Richland, died after his motorcycle was hit from behind by Luttrell’s Toyota Echo. Luttrell allegedly was fidgeting with the CD player in his car and took his eyes off the road.

Richland Capt. Mike Cobb said last week that detectives just wrapped up their investigation and were forwarding reports to the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office for review of potential criminal charges.

Police responded to the crash site just after 2 p.m. to find Quintana had been thrown from his motorcycle into the back of a delivery truck. A police department employee had come out of the nearby office and started administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived, according to search warrant documents.

Steven McNiven, who was driving the truck for a coffee company, told officers that traffic was slowing for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk and he was almost to a full stop when he heard a loud “bang” and thought he felt his vehicle move, the documents said.

Traffic camera footage “clearly shows (the Toyota) drifting towards the center lane as he rear-ended (the motorcycle),” according to the search warrants. Quintana’s Honda CBR600 was pushed into the center lane and all traffic on George Washington immediately came to a stop.

Luttrell, who had been on the inside northbound lane, said he had been attempting to make adjustments to the in-dash CD/radio because it would continually eject the CD. He told police he took his eyes off the roadway and when he looked back up, his car already had hit the motorcycle, documents said.

“At this time, all indications are that this collision is a result of Andrew following too close and inattention to traffic slowing directly ahead of him as he attempted to operate the CD player,” Officer Eric J. Edwards wrote.

Quintana was pronounced dead at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. He had moved to the Tri-Cities about three years ago and worked for Evergreen Financial Services.

Luttrell was not arrested after the collision.

However, officers got search warrants to draw Luttrell’s blood so it could be tested at the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory, to seize items in a backpack in his car trunk and to inspect both the Honda and Toyota for any mechanical issues.

The backpack held marijuana and residue, a glass water bong, a metal grinder, packaging material and a pill bottle with gummy-type candy that officers said may be marijuana infused. Police noted that it was significant to take those items into evidence in case it was proven that Luttrell was impaired at the time of the crash.

The documents do not show the results of Luttrell’s blood tests.

Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531, @KristinMKraemer

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