Groom, Others Awarded $1.3 Million Settlement in Crash That Killed Bride on Wedding Night

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 22, 2024US News
Groom, Others Awarded $1.3 Million Settlement in Crash That Killed Bride on Wedding Night
Samantha Miller and her groom-to-be Aric Hutchinson in a file photo. (Family of Samantha Miller via AP)

The victims of a car crash that killed a bride on her wedding night have been awarded a partial settlement from several businesses.

A judge in Charleston County, South Carolina, awarded a $1.379 million settlement to the victims in the wrongful death case on June 18.

“I, like a lot of people, I am aware of this case from the amount of media coverage it had. Very tragic circumstances,” Judge Roger Young said during the hearing. “By definition, any time we have a wrongful death suit they are not easy to bear. No money can bring back people.”

The crash happened in April 2023 at 10 p.m. just hours after Samantha Miller, 34, and Aric Hutchinson, 36, got married in Folly Beach.

The newlyweds just celebrated their vows during a wedding reception with family and friends when Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, rear-ended the bridal party’s golf cart. She was speeding at 65 miles per hour in her rental car in a 25 mph zone.

The bride was killed in the crash. The groom suffered a brain injury and several broken bones. Two others were also injured.

NTD Photo
Samantha Miller and her groom-to-be Aric Hutchinson in a file photo. (Family of Samantha Miller via AP)

Mr. Hutchinson and the other victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit less than a month after the crash against the driver, the rental car company, and several Lowcountry businesses and bars.

“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 plaintiffs claimed in the lawsuit.

Ms. Komoroski’s blood alcohol content was 0.261, more than three times the legal limit, according to a toxicology report. She reeked of alcohol and told law enforcement at the scene that she consumed two alcoholic beverages, a beer, and a drink with tequila, according to a police affidavit.

The settlement breaks down the amount each defendant will pay the groom, the estate of his late wife, and two other victims. Crab Shack must pay $640,000, while the Drop in Bar & Deli and Snapper Jacks are responsible for $320,000 each. The settlement holds Progressive Northern Insurance accountable for $75,000, while Enterprise Rent-A-Car must pay $24,000.

Additionally, Mr. Hutchinson’s legal team is entitled to one-third of the settlement and $51,001.83 in reimbursable costs, according to the terms of the settlement.

After attorney and legal fees, the settlement totals more than $863,000.

Mr. Hutchinson’s attorney Danny Dalton said the amount was lower than anticipated due to an ongoing legal fight with the slain bride’s mother who has challenged whether Mr. Hutchinson is the rightful manager of Samantha Miller’s estate.

Litigation with other defendants, including Ms. Komoroski and her employer, is ongoing. Both were named in the lawsuit but were not part of this settlement.

Jamie Lee Komoroski
Jamie Lee Komoroski on April 29, 2023. (Charleston County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

The defendant was working as a new employee at Taco Boy at the time of the crash. The restaurant was accused in the complaint of serving her alcohol that day but denied the accusations in a statement. The restaurant said she never “set foot” in the establishment that day. Ms. Komoroski only trained for two days at her job and was fired following the crash, according to the restaurant.

Ms. Komoroski was charged on Sept. 12 with felony driving under the influence resulting in death, reckless homicide, and two counts of felony driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury.

She was released on bond in March. A trial date has not yet been set. She is currently under house arrest while her criminal case is pending.