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.
But for the young newlyweds, the phrase “until death do you part” came too soon. A drunk motorist hit Aric and Samantha as they were leaving their wedding on the island of Folly Beach, off the coast of South Carolina. Samantha, 34, was killed, and Aric was taken to the hospital. There were two more injured passengers on the cart.
“At the start of the golf cart ride, she said I wish this night could go on forever,” the bride’s mother, Lisa Miller, said. One of her greatest nights ever.
After the happy couple exited the reception under a canopy of sparklers as Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson, their lovely day tragically ended. The young couple entered the back of the low-speed vehicle (LSV), a street-legal cart resembling a golf cart, along with Aric’s relatives Benjamin and Brogan Garrett, seated in the front.
When Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, rammed the back of the LSV with the Toyota rental car she was driving, they were only two blocks away from where they were staying.
According to the Associated Press, data from Komoroski’s rental car showed that she was traveling at 65 mph in a 25 mph zone and just briefly applied the brakes before colliding with a tree on Folly Beach at 10 p.m. on Friday. Director of the safety department Andrew Gilreath attested that the LSV had lights and could be driven at night.
“I don’t know what the distraction was, but she practically ran into my daughter at 65 miles per hour,” the bride’s mother, who had just hours before danced with her daughter to Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are,” told the local media.
Samantha’s sister Mandi Jenkins remembers when they saw and heard the sirens near where they were staying. “We were lounging on the veranda in our pajamas. 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 cart was thrown nearly 100 yards by the power of the collision, rolling many times before coming to a rest.
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, still wearing her wedding dress, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other passenger is reported as stable, but another passenger suffered critical injuries.
The police report stated 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 scored “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. She faces a prison sentence of one to 25 years on each DUI charge.
After informing investigators she wanted to die, Komoroski, who has a history of speeding-related offenses, is now under suicide watch.
Two GoFundMe campaigns have been started, one by Aric’s mother, Annette Hutchinson, to assist in paying for Samantha’s funeral and medical expenses for her son, her son-in-law Benjamin, and her grandson, Brogan.
Aric is in critical condition and will require lengthy rehabilitation. He has undergone one of two reconstruction procedures in addition to having several fractured bones and a brain injury.
Ben suffered major injuries, as with Brogan. Five hours after Sam put the ring on Aric’s finger and they exchanged vows, she says, “I was given Aric’s wedding band in a plastic bag at the hospital. The love of Aric’s life is gone. This campaign raised approximately $600,000 of its $100,000 target on Wednesday.
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 brave, and that’s precisely how she spent her final day of life, Mandi writes. She couldn’t wait to begin her life with Aric. That day, she was unnerved and hesitant-free. The affection was palpable on the beach.
It’s awful that it ended so brutally because it was supposed to be the first day of the rest of their lives. Because Samantha Miller was such a lovely young lady, our hearts go out to Aric and their families.