New Details About Alleged Drunk Driver Who Killed a Bride on Her Wedding Day
Samantha Miller died a few hours after her wedding when she was struck by an alleged drunk driver.
It was supposed to be one of the most beautiful and unforgettable days for Samantha Miller. The 34-year-old walked down the aisle and said "I do" in a stunning Folly Beach, South Carolina ceremony, but her wedding celebration was destroyed by tragedy. Hours after Miller tied the knot, she was killed in an accident as she was leaving the reception. Her groom Aric Hutchinson is in serious condition.
The bride's brother-in-law and nephew were also injured when alleged drunk driver, Jamie Lee Komoroski, slammed into their LSV (low speed vehicle), which is an important distinction because an LSV can be driven at night, according to the Folly Beach Public Safety Department. Continue reading to explore new information regarding the case.
Although it's been widely reported that the couple drove away in a golf cart, that is incorrect, according to WCIV. The outlet reports, "Folly Beach Public Safety Department's Chief Andrew Gilreath confirmed the happy couple left on an LSV, not a golf cart. It's an important distinction because LSVs are allowed to be driven at night."
WCIV spoke to Etto Leisure Cars CEO Will Harton, who explained that LSVs have "more stringent safety features than golf carts," which include brake lights, turn signals, seat belts, an advanced braking system headlights, and reflectors. "If somebody hits you speeding, driving drunk, or recklessly there's not a lot of safety features that can protect you from that," Harton said.
According to the outlet, "Harton says golf carts are better for the golf course or riding to your neighbors house, while LSVs can be operated on any non-number road under 35 m.p.h."
According to WCIV, "The bride and groom rode on the back seat facing the car that hit them. The LSV now has seats detached, the axel connecting the two back wheels nearly broken. Pieces of the bride's beautiful gown, stuck in the bumper of the rental car.
"A quick journey from the venue to their Airbnb for their wedding night," Mandi Jenkins, Sam's sister told the outlet. "What's gonna go wrong?"
As the bride and groom were leaving their reception around 10:00 p.m., Komoroski, 25, slammed into their LSV killing Miller and seriously injuring three others. According to local Charleston news station WYFF, "Her blood draw results are pending. An investigation into the crash determined she was going 65 mph at the time she struck the cart."
NBC News reports that officers "smelled alcohol on the breath of the driver" and asked her to take a sobriety test, but she refused.
Komoroski, who is reportedly on suicide watch at the Charleston County jail, has been charged with one count of reckless homicide and three counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily harm, according to online court records. WBTV/WCSC/Gray News cites the affidavit and reports, "I asked Jamie if she had anything to drink, and she stated that she had one beer and a drink with tequila about an hour ago," the affidavit states. "I then ask on a scale from 1 being completely sober and 10 being the most impaired, she stated she was an eight."
The outlet also reports Folly Beach Police said Komoroski "became uncooperative. The affidavit states that when the suspect stood up, she was very unsteady on her feet and almost fell down, leading an officer to help her stand."
According to a GoFundMe page started by the groom's mother, Annette Hutchinson, the driver was going more than double the speed limit. "My son-in-law Benjamin Garrett and grandson Brogan Garrett from Morgan, Utah were escorting the couple from the reception in a golf cart when they were struck from behind by a drunk driver traveling 65 MPH in a 25 MPH zone," she wrote. "The golf cart was thrown over 100 yards and rolled several times."
The fatal accident happened a few days ago, and the groom has undergone at least two surgeries. His mother wrote on the GoFundMe page, "Aric is in serious condition and has had one of two reconstruction surgeries, numerous broken bones, and a brain injury, he will have a long recovery. Ben and Brogan were also injured, Ben seriously."
Annette Hutchinson wrote, "Aric lost the love of his life when my new daughter-in-law Samantha "Sam" Hutchinson was tragically killed by a drunk driver moments after the picture above while leaving her wedding reception on April 28th in Folly Beach, South Carolina. My son is now in critical condition."
She added, "I was handed Aric's wedding ring in a plastic bag at the hospital five hours after Sam placed it on his finger and they read each other their vows. Aric has lost the love of his life."
"A sister, a daughter, a wife, died in her wedding dress because someone made a terrible decision," a tearful Mani Jenkins, sister of the bride, told NBC News in a package that aired on the TODAY show. "From the moment she woke up that day until she left the venue, she told Eric on the golf cart that she wanted this day to last forever. He told us that at the hospital when we saw him," Jenkins said.
Komoroski, a former server at a Mexican restaurant, retained two high-powered attorneys, Nathan S. Williams and Christopher S. Gramiccioni, who is asking for people to hear all the facts before jumping to conclusions about their client. "We cannot fathom what the families are going through and offer our deepest sympathies," the attorneys said in a written statement to the Post & Courier.
"We simply ask that there not be a rush to judgment. Our court system is founded upon principles of justice and mercy and that is where all facts will come to light."
According to local station WCIV, "Gramiccioni and Williams filed a motion to request and preserve evidence on May 10. This includes all evidence that is favorable to the defendant, which could tend to show the defendant is not guilty of the charges, which would be helpful in the preparation of a defense, and / or which would be mitigating to the defense known to anyone acting on the state's behalf in this case, including, but not limited to, law enforcement and / or any state / government agency involved in the case."