At a moving beach memorial for his bride over the weekend, the South Carolina groom whose bride was killed when an alleged drunk driver hit their golf cart broke his silence for the first time since the tragedy.
Aric Hutchinson, 36, joined about a hundred people on Folly Beach on Saturday to celebrate the life of his bride, Samantha Hutchinson, 34. Samantha Hutchinson was killed in a car accident on April 28 after the newlyweds’ reception, leaving him with broken bones and a brain injury.
Hutchinson said of Saturday’s emotional ceremony, which took place at the beach where the couple was married and involved mourners paddling out to the ocean to release flowers with the word “Sam” written on their stems, “She would’ve loved it.”
“Hello, Sam. She really is a beach girl at heart, to quote Hutchinson. “We do make the short walk here almost every morning, and this is undoubtedly her send-off. She is undoubtedly grinning up there.
After undergoing numerous reconstructive surgeries to repair fractured bones in his legs and to reconstruct his face, Hutchinson is still in a wheelchair.
His first public appearance since leaving the hospital last week was the vigil on Saturday.
Hutchinson told reporters at the vigil that he was feeling “pretty good” despite his wounds.
“I suppose my body is recovering to a point where I can function. It’s as good as I can feel given the circumstances,” he remarked.
After their wedding reception, Hutchinson and Samantha were traveling in a golf cart with two family members when Jamie Lee Komoroski, 25, crashed her car into the back of their safe, slowly moving vehicle. According to reports, she was traveling 65 mph in a 25 mph zone.
Samantha, who was wearing her wedding dress, was killed when the golf cart rolled over multiple times and flew 100 yards in the impact.
According to a toxicology report from South Carolina police, Komoroski had a blood alcohol level of 0.261 at the time of the collision, which is more than three times the legal limit.
She mumbled that she was at an 8 before asking for a lawyer, according to Folly Beach police Sgt. Zac Halpern, when he asked her how inebriated she was on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being sober.
Three counts of felony DUI resulting in death or serious bodily injury and one count of reckless homicide have Komoroski being detained at the Charleston County Detention Center without bond.
The tragic fatal accident has received widespread attention; as of Monday, a GoFundMe page to assist with the costs of Hutchinson’s medical bills and Samantha’s funeral expenses had raised more than $720,000.
Hundreds of people showed up for the vigil on Saturday, and Hutchinson said he was deeply touched by the outpouring of support for him and his family.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it’s, I mean, they’re sincere, genuine, good-hearted people who are just reaching out, that felt a reason to, or somehow they were touched by Sam,” Hutchinson said. “It simply means everything. She made that impression.