Widowed husband sues driver, bars after DUI crash killed bride on wedding night
May 18, 2023, 1:39 PM
(Family of Samantha Miller via AP, File)
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The alleged drunk driver who police say slammed into newlyweds riding along a South Carolina beach road now faces a wrongful death lawsuit alongside several establishments accused of overserving her on the night of the crash, which killed the bride.
Four bars gave “copious amounts of alcohol” to a “visibly intoxicated” woman, identified as Jamie Lee Komoroski, last month before she drove 40 miles over the speed limit into a golf cart carrying the couple away from their wedding reception, according to a new lawsuit filed May 17.
The April 28 wreck killed Samantha Miller, 34, and injured the groom, Aric Hutchinson, and two other passengers. A toxicology report released last week showed Komoroski, 25, had a blood alcohol level of 0.261 — over three times the legal limit.
The complaint alleges that Komoroski “slurred and staggered her way through” El Gallo Bar & Grill, Snapper Jacks, the Drop In Bar & Dali and the Crab Shack — all of which either allowed her to become intoxicated or continued serving her alcohol when they should have recognized her inebriated state.
The owner of El Gallo Bar & Grill declined to comment. Representatives of the other three establishments did not immediately respond Thursday afternoon to emails.
A taqueria that had recently hired Komoroski is also accused of negligence and recklessness. Taco Boy supervisors coerced the new server into consuming “a dangerous amount of alcohol” at an employee function before the fatal crash, according to the complaint.
In a statement on its website, Taco Boy denied that any employee event involving drinking occurred. The statement said video footage, staff interviews and sales receipts confirm that Komoroski, who has since been fired, did not enter the restaurant on the day of the accident.
Hutchinson and other family members seek unspecified damages. Miller experienced “conscious physical pain” before she died, the complaint says, and Hutchinson has suffered “psychological trauma” after witnessing her death.
Police charged Komoroski with reckless vehicular homicide and three counts of driving under the influence causing death or great bodily injury. A lawyer representing her in the criminal case did not respond Thursday afternoon to a call.
The family’s attorney, Danny Dalton, said he hopes the civil lawsuit will bring more details about the events preceding the tragedy.
“This case is about keeping our community safe from drunk drivers, and an important part of that effort is making sure the establishments we entrust with liquor licenses live up to their responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly,” Dalton said in a statement.