Woman had ‘booze-filled day’ at bars before killing bride in crash, groom’s lawsuit says
A woman’s “drunken escapade” ended when she got behind the wheel and crashed into a newlywed couple, killing the bride the evening of their wedding in South Carolina, according to a new lawsuit.
Aric Hutchinson and Samatha Miller were leaving their wedding reception in a golf cart driven by Hutchinson’s brother-in-law when the woman barreled into them from behind at about 65 mph on April 28 in Folly Beach, a town 10 miles south of Charleston, the lawsuit says.
The day was “supposed to be the happiest day” of their lives, but the crash resulted in Miller’s death and left Hutchinson badly injured as the couple was headed to a rental for the night after celebrating with friends and family, according to a complaint filed May 17.
The woman who officials said crashed into the couple, 25-year-old Jamie Komoroski, was booked in jail on April 29 and is facing one count of reckless homicide and three counts of felony driving under the influence charges, McClatchy News previously reported and Charleston County Sheriff’s Office jail records show.
Now, Hutchinson is suing Komoroski, accusing her of going on a “booze-filled day of bar hopping” before the deadly crash.
Hutchinson is also suing several bars and restaurants — Snapper Jacks, The Drop In Bar & Deli, The Crab Shack and El Gallo Bar & Grill — that are said to have served Komoroski drinks on April 28, according to the complaint.
“The state grants restaurants and bars a license for the privilege to serve alcohol, and with that privilege comes a responsibility to the community to serve patrons responsibly and to deny service to individuals who are visibly intoxicated,” attorney Danny Dalton, of Charleston-based law firm Mickelsen Dalton, LLC, said in a May 17 news release.
It’s unclear if Komoroski retained legal counsel for the civil case against her.
Attorney Chris Gramiccioni, a former federal prosecutor representing her in the criminal case, said in a statement provided to McClatchy News on May 17 that “we simply ask that there not be a rush to judgment.”
“We cannot fathom what the families are going through and offer our deepest sympathies,” Gramiccioni, of Kingston Coventry LLC law firm in New Jersey, said.
In addition to the Folly Beach bars, Taco Boy in Folly Beach, Komoroski’s most recent employer, is also named as a defendant. Taco Boy is accused of encouraging employees, including Komoroski, to drink alcohol at work functions held at local bars.
Melissa Reardon, Taco Boy’s communications director, said in a statement provided to McClatchy News that Komoroski was a recent hire who passed a background check, had trained two days before the fatal crash and has since been fired.
“The lawsuit alleges an officially organized employee function around drinking, which we can assure there was no such thing,” Reardon said.
McClatchy News contacted the other defendants for comment on May 17 and didn’t immediately receive a response.
‘Fateful night of unspeakable tragedy’
On the evening of the crash, Komoroski was driving in the opposite direction of her home moments before hitting the newlyweds, according to a Folly Beach Police report obtained by McClatchy News.
After Miller, a Charlotte, North Carolina, native, was pronounced dead on the scene following unsuccessful life saving measures, a responding officer interviewed Komoroski, who had an “odor of alcohol,” the report says.
A toxicology report obtained by McClatchy News shows Komoroski had a blood alcohol content of .261 that evening. The lawsuit says this is over the legal limit.
Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal under state law.
Komoroski’s day of drinking began at El Gallo Bar & Grill near Daniel Island before she headed over to Folly Beach and “began bar hopping down Center Street, making stops at The Drop In, The Crab Shack, and Snapper Jacks,” the complaint says.
“Despite being noticeably and visibly intoxicated at each of these establishments, Jamie Komoroski continued to be served, provided, and/or allowed to consume additional and excessive amounts of alcohol at each of them,” the lawsuit said.
As Hutchinson and Miller’s wedding night was winding down, Komoroski left the bars in a “drunken haze,” the complaint says.
“Unbeknownst to Sam, Aric, and their wedding party, Jamie Komoroski and the other Defendants were creating a different kind of day — one that would set in motion a course of events ultimately transforming a fairytale love story into a fateful night of unspeakable tragedy,” the complaint says.
Hutchinson is accusing all defendants of negligence.
In his statement, Dalton said “there are still many details we don’t know about the sequence of events leading up to the tragic crash, but by filing a lawsuit, we can begin the legal discovery process that allows us to get the answers that Samantha’s family deserves.”
In addition to Gramiccioni, his partner Deb Gramiccioni, a former judge and federal prosecutor, and Nathan S. Williams, also a former federal prosecutor, are representing Komoroski in the criminal case.
At Komoroski’s bond hearing, Miller’s sister Mandi gave an emotional statement, the Charlotte Observer previously reported.
“I said, ‘There’s not enough time, in this courtroom, to convey the impact that this has had on my family, and everyone in my sister’s life. She was the happiest she’s ever been, on that day. She’s a sister. A daughter. A cat mom. She had plans to be a mom. She wanted to have kids. … But now she can’t be any of that,’” she told the Observer.
The end of this bride’s life was ugly. But the rest of it was filled with so much beauty.
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