The photos posted to social media show a radiant bride and dashing groom celebrating a romantic kiss – the joyous moment illuminated by dozens of sparklers held aloft by family and friends surrounding the happy couple.
The images radiate love and joy – and are so picturesque many would have no trouble presuming they came from a magazine. But these photos did not yield a ‘happily ever after’ fairytale.
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On Friday, April 28, 2023, just moments after these two newlyweds vowed to love one another until “death do us part” – Sam and Aric pulled away from their reception at the Pelican Watch Pavilion in a golf cart adorned with a ‘Just Married’ sign. They were transported by Benjamin Garrett – Aric’s brother-in-law – and Brogan Garrett, his nephew.
Just over three miles away – on the 1200 block of East Ashley Avenue – a Toyota Camry driven by 25-year-old Jamie Lee Komoroski was flying through this island city of 2,000 located just south of Charleston. Shortly after 10:00 p.m. EST, Komoroski’s Camry – reportedly traveling at 65 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone – slammed into the back of the golf cart carrying the wedding party.
The cart was thrown over 100 yards and rolled a number of times before coming to a stop. All occupants were thrown from vehicle.
“I observed a large crash scene with a golf cart on its side up against a grey Toyota Camry,” deputy chief Rocky Burke of the Folly Beach police department noted in a probable cause affidavit accompanying warrants for Komoroski’s arrest. “I observed multiple victims who were laying throughout the crash site.”
According to Burke, Samantha Miller was found “not breathing” and with “no pulse” – still wearing her wedding dress. The other occupants of the golf cart – the groom Aric Hutchinson, Benjamin Garrett and Brogan Garrett – were all transported to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) with critical injuries including open fractures and massive traumas.
“All patients were in and out of conscious(ness),” Burke added. “So I focused life-saving measures on Samatha, but she was pronounced dead at the scene.”
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According to a GoFundMe page established by his mother, Annette Hutchinson, the groom sustained “numerous broken bones, and a brain injury” – and would require multiple surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation.
“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,” Annette Hutchinson wrote.
When first responders checked on Komoroski, they found she had no injuries but Burke indicated smelling “an odor of alcohol coming from her breath and person.”
“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,” Burke reported.
Burke then asked Komoroski where she would place herself on a scale between one and ten with “one being completely sober and ten being the most impaired.” Komoroski assessed her own inebriation at that moment at an “eight.”
Komoroski then became uncooperative, refusing a field sobriety test and breathalyzer examination – with officers observing her as “very unsteady on her feet” and “almost (falling) down.”
Komoroski was placed under arrest and a warrant obtained for a blood sample. Two vials of her blood were later collected and sent to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) laboratories for analysis. Komoroski was eventually charged with two counts of felony driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, one count of felony driving under the influence resulting in death and one count of reckless homicide resulting in death.
She is currently being held without bail in the Sheriff Al Cannon detention center in Charleston, S.C. Komoroski is under suicide watch after reportedly telling arresting officers she wanted to kill herself.
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As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Komoroski is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system – or until such time as she may wish to enter some form of allocution in connection with a plea agreement with prosecutors related to any of the charges filed against her.
A recent report from Forbes analyzed DUI statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for all fifty states to determine which states have the highest and lowest rates of drinking and driving. The study revealed South Carolina ranked No. 7 nationally among the worst states for drunk driving.
According to the data, 289.6 out of every 100,000 licensed drivers have received a DUI. Also, nearly three out of ten traffic deaths – 29.6 percent to be precise – were caused by drunk drivers.
Will Komoroski be held accountable?
Just yesterday, we published a story on Thomas Cade Garris – a drunk driver who was sentenced to fourteen years in prison last September after pleading guilty to felony DUI in connection with a January 2019 crash that left one person dead and seriously injured several others.
Garris’ attorneys – the late David Aylor and state representative Deon Tedder – attempted to work around the criminal justice system so their client’s plea could be heard by S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price of Charleston, S.C. Price, readers will recall, has an atrocious record when it comes to holding convicted criminals accountable for their actions. He was also one of Aylor’s close friends.
Tedder is one of the lawyer-legislators who picks judges in the Palmetto State – a corrupt practice which has enabled institutional corruption, shredded the rights of victims, empowered violent criminals and materially eroded public safety.
Count on FITSNews to follow this case to ensure the court system holds those responsible accountable …
(Via: Town of Folly Beach)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at email@example.com.
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