On April 28, 2023, Aric Hutchinson and Samantha Miller exchanged vows and danced under a starry sky near the Atlantic coast to mark the beginning of their life together as husband and wife.
However, for the young newlyweds, “til death do you part” came too soon. Samantha, 34, was killed and Aric was sent to the hospital when they were hit by a drunk motorist as they were leaving their wedding on Folly Beach, an island off the coast of South Carolina. The cart had two more injured people.
The bride’s mother, Lisa Miller said, “On the beginning of the golf cart ride, she said I wished this night could go on forever. The best night of her life.”
The couple’s beautiful day ended tragically after, as Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson, they joyously left the reception through a canopy of sparklers. Along with Aric’s relatives, Benjamin and Brogan Garrett, who were seated in the front, the young couple got into the back of the low speed vehicle (LSV), a street legal cart, similar to a golf cart.
They were only two blocks from where they were staying when Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, slammed into the back of the LSV with the Toyota rental car she was operating.
According to Associated Press, data retrieved from Komoroski’s rental car indicated she was driving 65 mph in a 25 mph zone, and only briefly hit the brakes before crashing around 10 p.m. Friday on Folly Beach. Safety Department Director Andrew Gilreath confirmed the LSV had lights and was legal to drive at night.
The bride’s mother, who had just hours before danced with her daughter to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are,” told the local media, “I don’t know what the distraction was, but she basically plowed into my daughter driving 65 miles per hour. She essentially just whammed my kid while Sammie and Aric were in the golf cart.
Samantha’s sister Mandi Jenkins remembers the time they saw and heard the sirens close to where they were staying. We were lounging on the veranda in our pajamas.and the sirens began to sound. Jenkins stated that the sirens continued to sound. They drove to the area when she texted her sister but got no answer, and what they discovered there was horrific.
The force of the collision tossed the cart about 100 yards, rolling several times before it finally came to a stop.
According to the report, there was “a large crash scene with a golf cart on its side and several victims laying among the wreckage.”
When Lisa learned Samantha’s body had been found at the crash site, she realized she had been misled into believing her daughter had been brought to the hospital.
While Aric was taken to the hospital with broken bones and brain injuries, Samantha, who was still wearing her wedding dress, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passenger is reported as stable, but one other passenger suffered critical injuries.
Police reports state that Komoroski smelled of alcohol and admitted to officers that she had only consumed one beer and one tequila an hour prior.
She needed to be propped up, according to the police, since she was “very unsteady” and may have fallen to the ground. Komoroski gave her a score of “eight” on a scale of one to ten, but when requested to do a field sobriety test, “she strongly refused and became uncooperative.” She declined to give a breath sample at the police station as well, but a warrant was issued for two vials of blood, the results of which are now pending.
Three counts of drunk driving causing death and reckless vehicular homicide are brought against Komoroski. On each DUI charge, she faces a prison sentence of one to 25 years.
Komoroski, who has a history of speeding-related charges, is under suicide watch after telling officers she wanted to die.
Two GoFundMe campaigns have been started, one by Aric’s mother Annette Hutchinson to assist in paying for Samantha’s funeral expenses as well as medical expenses for her son, her son-in-law Benjamin, and her grandson, Brogan. “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.” She adds, “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.” This campaign has raised almost $600,000 on Wednesday of its $100,000 goal.
The other GoFundMe was started by Samantha’s sister Mandi to support the family and has raised approximately $37,000 of its $10,000 target so far. “Samantha was fearless and that’s exactly how she spent the last day of her life. She was so excited to start her life with Aric. She had no nerves or hesitation that day. You could feel the love on the beach.”
It was meant to be the first day of the rest of their lives and it’s heartbreaking that it ended so tragically. Samantha Miller was such a beautiful young woman, and our love and thoughts go out to Aric and their families.