Husband remembers wife killed in wedding night crash: ‘She’s up there smiling’
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - A South Carolina man is mourning the loss of his bride as he continues to recover from the wedding night golf cart crash that left him with lasting scars.
While still wearing her wedding dress, 34-year-old Samantha Miller died April 28 on Folly Beach when a car rear-ended her wedding party’s golf cart. Her husband, Aric Hutchinson, and two others were onboard the cart at the time.
At least 100 people gathered on the beach Saturday morning, including Hutchinson, to remember Miller. It was the first time Hutchinson visited the beach the couple was married on since the crash, WCSC reports.
“She would’ve loved it,” Hutchinson said. “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.”
Friends, family and members of the Folly Beach community paddled out into the water to honor Miller’s life by throwing flowers into the ocean with “Sam” written on the stems.
Hutchinson sat on the shoreline in a wheelchair after sustaining a brain injury and multiple broken bones after the golf cart was thrown 100 yards.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “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.”
Thousands of people from all over the country have donated to the GoFundMe page to help pay for Miller’s burial and medical costs for Hutchinson and his family. As of early Sunday, the page had raised over $719,000.
Locally, Hutchinson says the people of Folly Beach, some that had no connection to the couple, have donated food during his recovery, as well as showing love and prayers.
“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,” he said. “It just means the world. She left that impact.”
Tara Novit, who surfs on Folly Beach and helped organize the event, says the community treats everyone like one big family.
“That’s one thing about this community is that we all come together when tragedy hits,” Novit said. “It really is a tragedy for Folly Beach, and we’re all grieving with the family.”
The two other people who were in the golf cart were Hutchinson’s brother-in-law, Ben Garret, and Garret’s 17-year-old son, both of whom are back home in Utah. Garret suffered severe road rash and lacerations to his skin.
Danny Dalton, Hutchinson’s lawyer, says it is going to be a long recovery, but they are going to pull through.
The driver of the vehicle that struck the golf cart was identified by police as Jamie Komoroski. She was arrested and charged with driving under the influence causing serious bodily injury/death and reckless homicide. The vehicle she was driving was traveling at a speed of 65 miles per hour when it struck the golf cart, police say.
A newly released report from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division states that Komoroski had a blood alcohol level of 0.261% when she was tested after the crash. That is more than three times the legal limit in the state.
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