The city of Folly Beach, South Carolina has responded to this media outlet’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding a fatal crash that claimed the life of a beautiful bride on her wedding night two weeks ago.
Samantha Miller was killed on the evening of Friday, April 28, 2023 – just moments after marrying the love of her life, Aric Hutchinson.
As our research director Jenn Wood reported last week, Hutchinson and Miller pulled away from their wedding reception at the Pelican Watch Pavilion just before 10:00 p.m. in a golf cart adorned with a ‘Just Married’ sign. They were being transported to a nearby rental property by Benjamin Garrett – Aric’s brother-in-law – and Brogan Garrett, his nephew.
Their new life together was about to begin …
“She was everything to my son and (she) changed him for the better,” Aric’s mother, Annette Hutchinson, wrote in a recent update to the family’s GoFundMe page. “She could light up a room with her presence and had an ease about her. They shared many hopes and dreams for their future including children and building a house.”
The moment those dreams were within reach, though, they were violently shattered …
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.
“I was driving and then all of a sudden something hit me,” Komoroski told responding officers, according to a detailed incident report released by the city (.pdf).
Wait … something hit her?
Komoroski obviously got that backward … but that’s not surprising considering she wasn’t even aware of where she was going when accident occurred, according to the incident report.
(Click to view)
Komoroski told officers she was driving “towards her house” when her vehicle slammed into the golf cart.
“Her house was (in) the opposite direction,” officers noted.
Potentially contributing to Komoroski’s confusion? Her blood alcohol content was recorded at .261, according to a toxicology report (.pdf) from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). That is more than three times the legal limit.
Komoroski initially claimed she had not been drinking, but quickly admitted she had “had two drinks, one beer and a drink” – specifically a “tequila pineapple” – about an hour prior to the accident. When officers began to assess the extent of her inebriation, she quickly stopped cooperating with them.
“Ummm, I would like a lawyer,” she said.
She now has two of them – Christopher J. Gramiccioni and Nathan Williams – both with offices in Mount Pleasant, S.C. They will be defending her on 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. Those charges were filed – and will be prosecuted – by the office of S.C. ninth circuit solicitor Scarlett Wilson.
Komoroski refused to take a field sobriety test or submit to a breathalyzer examination.
“I did nothing wrong,” she told responding deputies.
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.
Gramiccioni and Williams are already hard at work, too, having filed a motion on May 10, 2023 seeking disclosure of all evidence in possession of the state in connection with its case against their client.
Miller was found by police “not breathing” and with “no pulse” – “a young white female in a white dress,” according to the report. Her wedding dress.
“I went over to a white female who was lying on her back and checked for a pulse,” responding officer Carter Honeycutt noted in his report. “I did not feel a pulse and started to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation.”
The city also released one photo of the golf cart, which according to a witness “sounded like a small explosion” after being struck by Komoroski’s vehicle.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
Another witness, whose name was redacted from the report, recalled hearing “a loud boom and scraping sound.”
Yet another witness, who was among the very first people to arrive at the scene, said she immediately went to Miller and “checked for a pulse.”
“She stated she did not find a pulse nor could (she) see any signs of breathing,” the report noted, citing the witness. “She stated that there was nothing she could do for her so moved on to see if there was someone she could help.”
Miller was pronounced “deceased at (the) scene,” according to the report.
The groom “received multiple injuries including two broken legs, one which had to be surgically repaired,” according to his mother.
He also suffered “broken bones in his face which also had to be surgically repaired. Broken vertebrae’s in his back, brain bleeds, and numerous cuts with stitches.”
(Click to view)
Benjamin Garrett is “recovering in the burn unit where he underwent surgery to clean out and redress his severe road rash and open wounds,” according to Annette Hutchinson’s update.
“He will need another skin graft back home in Utah at some point,” she wrote “He needs to be able to put weight on his legs, and his wounds to start healing before he can return home.”
As for Brogan Garrett, he “only suffered minor injuries.”
“We truly believe a guardian angel was with him that night,” Annette Hutchinson wrote. “Our hope is that with love and support he can get through the trauma of having been involved in this horrific accident at 17.
According to his mother, Aric Hutchinson is recuperating at home and planning his late wife’s funeral with her family.
“He is physically recovering at home while trying to come to terms with the loss of his beautiful wife,” she wrote. “Now he is doing the unimaginable of planning Sam’s funeral along with her family.”
As previously noted, our media outlet will be following this case very closely to ensure accountability …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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Tragic, unnecessary and tragic. Komoroski deserves the full extent of the law, in South Carolina, that’s 25 years. I hope she serves every single day.
Drunk driving should be considered murder. Even premeditated murder if you drive yourself to a bar. Something has to be done to stop these idiots.
How can a taco technician like Jamie afford a pair of big money lawyers like that? Family money?
Employing her wares with little restraint
TRAGIC ! But one thing not being mentioned-is is against state law to operate a golf cart on public roads after dark.
It was a legal low speed vehicle.