The South Carolina man whose newlywed bride died while she was still wearing her wedding dress, on their wedding night, spoke publicly first time over the weekend at a memorial service for his late wife.
“She would’ve loved it,” Aric Hutchinson said at the same beach where the couple were married and lost. “This is Sam. I mean, she’s a beach girl, through and through. We do walk here almost every morning, and this is her send-off for sure. She’s up there smiling for sure.”
“I’m feeling pretty good,” the grieving husband added in comments reported by Charleston-based CBS affiliate WCSC. “My body’s getting back to where I can manage, I guess. It’s just as good as I can feel with the situation, but obviously, today and the outpouring of people was just amazing. I know Sam would love it.”
Samantha Miller, 34, died after Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, allegedly driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, slammed her rental car into the back of the wedding party’s golf cart on a road on Folly Beach, South Carolina, at around 10:00 p.m. on April 28.
A GoFundMe has raised several hundred thousand dollars to help with the family’s recovery and grief process.
Hutchinson suffered a brain injury as a result of the crash that occurred moments after the couple’s wedding reception.
Two other people in the golf cart at the time were also hurt when the car sent the smaller vehicle careening for some 100 yards and rolling over several times as a result of the impact.
Hutchinson’s brother-in-law, Ben Garret, is currently recuperating at his home in Utah. He is suffering from severe road rash and lacerations to his skin from the crash. The other passenger of the golf cart was Garret’s 17-year-old son who is also back home in Utah.
“All occupants of the LSV/golf cart were injured to different extents, to include one fatality,” Folly Beach Public Safety Director Andrew Gilreath said in a statement after the shockingly tragic incident. “The occupants were transporting the new bride and groom back to their rental house when they were struck.”
Komoroski, the alleged drunk driver, was not injured in the crash.
According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the drunk driver was traveling 65 mph at the time of impact in the largely residential area, which has a speed limit of 40 mph. She has been charged with three counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury/death and one count of reckless homicide.
Komoroski allegedly refused a field sobriety test and reeked of alcohol, telling law enforcement that she only had one beer and a drink with tequila about an hour before the crash, police wrote in an affidavit. According to at least one witness on the scene, the defendant repeatedly said she “did nothing wrong.”
Police also say Komoroski told responding officers that she was driving home at the time of the crash. Police, however, say she was traveling in the exact opposite direction on a dead-end street. When one officer asked Komoroski if she knew what happened, she allegedly said that “something” hit her “all of a sudden” as she was driving.
The defendant is being detained without bail at the Charleston County Detention Center.
“We cannot fathom what the families are going through and offer our deepest sympathies,” Komoroski’s attorneys Nathan S. Williams and Christopher S. Gramiccioni said in a written statement. “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.”
At least 100 people attended the celebration of Miller’s life on Saturday morning, WCSC reported. Several of the mourners later paddled into the ocean waters of the Atlantic Ocean and released flowers in the deceased woman’s honor.
The word “Sam” was written on the stems.
The widower attended his wife’s memorial in a wheelchair with a large covering on one leg. He welcomed all who came out for his family.
“It’s a little overwhelming; but it’s, I mean, they’re sincere, genuine, good-hearted people that are just reaching out that felt a reason to, or somehow they were touched by Sam,” Hutchinson said. “It just means the world. She left that impact.”
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Aric Hutchinson remembers his late wife Samantha Miller
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