Mother of South Carolina bride killed in wedding crash lashes out at accused drunk driver
The mother of a South Carolina bride killed in a wedding night crash lashed out at the driver whose blood alcohol level was allegedly more than three times the legal limit, saying "This was not an accident."
Samantha Miller, 34, died and her groom Aric Hutchinson, 36, was seriously injured when Jamie Komoroski rear-ended their golf cart after they left their reception in Folly Beach.
Komoroski, 25, had a blood-alcohol level of .261% during the April 28 collision, according to an incident report released by police Thursday.
"It wasn't an accident. This person chose to drink, get behind the wheel, and plow down my daughter," Lisa Miller, an addiction specialist, told Fox News Digital. "This is a conscious choice that a young lady made."
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Still image of the mother and sister of a South Carolina bride who was killed on the night of her wedding during and interview with FOX News Digital. (FOX News Digital )
Miller and her daughter, Mandi Jenkins, said it had been the perfect wedding before the celebration ended in unimaginable tragedy.
After the couple left the reception, Samantha told her new husband she wanted the "night to last forever."
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Moments later, Komoroski slammed her Toyota Camry into the golf cart, which flew more than 100 yards and rolled several times.
Komoroski was going 65 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to the newly released incident report.
Samantha, still wearing her wedding dress, was thrown from the cart and died instantly. Hutchinson and his brother-in-law were critically wounded, while his nephew escaped the wreck unscathed.
Komoroski repeatedly told police at the scene that "she did not do anything wrong" and was "just driving home" – although she lived in the opposite direction.
The Coastal Carolina University graduate was unsteady on her feet, refused to take a field sobriety test, and repeatedly asked for her boyfriend and a lawyer, the report says. Police later obtained a warrant to test her blood at the hospital.
It was love at first sight when Samantha and Hutchinson met about three years prior at a hotel in Idaho Falls while they were both on business trips.
After a brief encounter in the hotel's restaurant, they bumped into each other in the elevator, and Aric asked her to dinner.
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Hutchinson, who is from Utah, sells construction supplies, and Samantha, a "free spirit" who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, had worked in marketing, Miller told Fox News Digital. They had settled into a tranquil life together in Folly Beach.
"Aric and Sam are definitely soulmates," the grieving mother said. "Their hearts were very much alike. They both loved incredibly."
The couple said "I do" in front of 120 guests in a beach-side ceremony, then walked to the Pelican Watch Pavilion for their Bohemian-style reception.
They drank mimosas and ate charcuterie before indulging in a homemade pineapple-coconut cake.
"Sammy called me a couple of months into starting to plan her wedding and said, ‘Sissy, can you make my wedding cake?' and I was like, ‘I’m not a baker,' and she was like, ‘It doesn’t have to taste good,'" recalled Jenkins, with a rueful laugh.
The big sister grudgingly agreed.
WATCH VIDEO OF SAMANTHA MILLER CELEBRATING HER WEDDING HOURS BEFORE SHE WAS KILLED BY AN ALLEGED DRUNK DRIVER
When Samantha saw the cake, with a fresh pineapple stem and half a coconut sitting atop it, she was thrilled. "She said, 'Sissy, oh my God, it's perfect.' I just didn't get to ask her how it tasted," said Jenkins, as tears rolled down her cheeks.
During the reception, Samantha accidentally knocked the pineapple stem off the cake and burst into laughter.
Miller tenderly recalled her daughter asking the DJ to announce a surprise dance with the "most important person" in her life, her mother.
The mother-daughter duo were soon swaying to their song, "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars.
Miller and her daughter last saw the beaming couple as they left the reception under a canopy of sparklers. Minutes later, Samantha would be dead and her groom seriously injured.
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Miller and Jenkins had already returned to their Airbnb nearby when they began hearing sirens, while witnesses described hearing an explosion.
"At that moment, I said, ‘Something happened to Sam!’" Lisa recalled. A family member was soon at the door and drove Lisa and Mandi to the scene.
"It was like a really bad movie, a really bad Netflix movie," Lisa said. "We were running down the road toward all these lights…and we just were running and screaming Sam's name."
Sam's father and little brother were also there. An officer told Lisa that everyone had been taken to the hospital, so she and Mandi headed there and waited for hours.
"Then I got the call from Sam's dad that said, 'Sam isn't at the hospital. She's still here. She got killed, and I just identified her,'" recalled Lisa, choking back tears.
Komoroski, who is jailed without bond, is charged with three counts of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death and one count of reckless homicide, court records show.
FILE - This photo provided by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, in South Carolina, shows Jamie Lee Komoroski, on April 29, 2023. (Charleston County Sheriff's Office)
Komoroski retained two high-profile defense lawyers, Nathan S. Williams and Christopher S. Gramiccioni, who are both former federal prosecutors.
They declined to comment for this article but said in a previous statement they "cannot fathom what the families are going through" and urged the public not to "rush to judgment."
Samantha and Hutchinson had planned to buy a home and start a family soon after their wedding. Instead, Hutchinson and the rest of his family are planning his wife's funeral.
According to a post on the "Sam and Aric" GoFundMe page, the groom suffered bleeding in his brain, broken bones and facial fractures.
"He is physically recovering at home while trying to come to terms with the loss of his beautiful wife," wrote his mother Annette Hutchinson. "Now he is doing the unimaginable of planning Sam’s funeral along with her family."
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Miller said they are not having a funeral.
"We are having a celebration of Sam just like at that wedding. There are not going to be any people wearing black," she said. "Because that's what Sam would have wanted."