Groom files wrongful death suit in wedding night DUI crash
Taco Boy issues statement on lawsuit
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - A man involved in a Folly Beach crash on his wedding night that killed his bride and injured him and two others has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the accused driver and several Lowcountry restaurants and bars.
On April 28, Aric Hutchinson, his new bride, Samantha, and two others were traveling down Ashley Avenue on Folly Beach in a golf cart when they were hit by a gray Toyota Camry.
Police identified the driver of the vehicle as Jamie Komoroski. She has been charged with one count of reckless homicide and three counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury/death, according to jail records.
The newly filed lawsuit alleges Komoroski had a “booze-filled day of bar hopping” and the establishments she visited that day had an obligation to “exercise due care” in serving alcoholic beverages. In addition to Komoroski, the lawsuit names Snapper Jacks, The Drop-In Bar and Deli, The Crab Shack, Taco Boy, El Gallo Bar and Grill, and Bottle Cap Holdings, LLC.
Court documents allege Komoroski started drinking at El Gallo Bar and Grill before going to Folly Beach and visiting several bars on Center Street.
Attorney Danny Dalton answered questions Wednesday afternoon about the newly-filed suit. He said they began an investigation into the details leading up to the crash.
“There’s still facts and a lot of questions that haven’t been answered, which is part of the reason we wanted to file the lawsuit, was to get into the formal discovery process where we and the families can get more definite answers to some of the questions that are still a little vague to us,” he said.
Each of the named establishments “should have known that they had the authority and obligation to train, control, and supervise their respective employees, agents, or servants, including any bartenders, servers or any other employee” to not overserve patrons alcohol and not place others at risk of incurring serious injury or death, the lawsuit states.
In naming Taco Boy, the lawsuit states Komoroski had been an employee for a short time. The lawsuit alleges the restaurant was negligent by “organizing, arranging, and supervising an employee function/meeting knowing that excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages would be purchased for, served to, and/or consumed by the employees attending the function/meeting.”
“What our investigation yielded was that she had been an employee of [Taco Boy] for a short period of time, not very long, and that there was an almost routine gathering to go out to bars or a bar after their shifts or, you know, in the middle of their shifts or at different times, and their supervisors would also attend those gatherings or those events, call them what they were, and that she had attended this and that there was significant drinking at that event,” Dalton said. “And so, there’s a responsibility, especially when you have a supervisory role, but as an employer, to act responsibly in that role as employer and supervisor, and we felt that that was not done here and that it was breached.”
Taco Boy releases statement after being named in lawsuit
Taco Boy spokesperson Melissa Reardon released a statement Wednesday afternoon on behalf of the restaurant stating that Komoroski was not in their restaurant and was not served alcohol there on the day of the fatal crash. The statement also denies there was any “organized employee function around drinking.”
Here is their full statement.
On the day of the accident, Friday, April 28, 2023, we can confirm with absolute certainty that Jamie Komoroski did not set foot in Taco Boy, nor did anyone on our team serve her alcohol at the restaurant. We have confirmed this by watching 16 hours of video footage from multiple cameras, staff interviews with everyone working that day, and by reviewing all sales receipts.
Miss Komoroski had been recently hired at Taco Boy and had trained for only two days prior to the accident. She passed her background check and there were no red flags that would indicate ineligibility for employment. She has since been terminated.
The lawsuit alleges an officially organized employee function around drinking, which we can assure there was no such thing.
We are committed to serving alcohol responsibly and take it very seriously for the safety of our staff and guests. We require that our employees ID everyone and our staff are all ServeSafe /TIPS alcohol training certified before they are allowed to serve guests. We take great care not to overserve anyone.
Our hearts are with the family and friends impacted by this tragedy. Beyond the many visitors we receive, Folly Beach is a close-knit community of locals and businesses, and we share in the heartbreak of this senseless loss.
Authorities release BAC of alleged drunk driver in crash that killed newlywed
The toxicology 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 April 28 crash with a golf cart on Folly Beach. That is more than three times the legal limit in South Carolina.
Along with the toxicology report, the Folly Beach Police Department also sent an updated report of the incident.
Immediately after the crash, officers asked Komoroski what happened to which she replied, “I was driving, and then all the sudden something hit me,” the report reads.
Also, in the report, multiple witness recall seeing Komoroski “dazed and confused.” At the scene, she kept asking for her boyfriend and telling the witnesses she was on her way home, the report states.
Once she saw the victims on the ground, Komoroski started screaming and asking what happened, witnesses say.
In Komoroski’s arrest affidavit, officers claim they could smell alcohol on her breath and person. She told officers she had a beer and a drink with tequila about an hour before the crash, the affidavit states.
When asked how she felt on a scale of one to ten, with one being completely sober and ten being the most impaired, she responded that she was at an eight, the affidavit states.
Komoroski was then asked to complete a field sobriety test but she refused, the affidavit states. However, her blood was sampled for the toxicology report.
Komoroski is charged with DUI causing serious bodily injury/death and reckless homicide. Police say she rear-ended a golf cart with her car in the 1200 block of East Ashley Avenue.
At the time of the crash, Komoroski was driving 65 mph, according to police.
GoFundMe raises nearly $725,000
In a May 8 update from Hutchinson’s mother, Annette, on the GoFundMe page said he was recovering at home from multiple broken bones.
“From the accident, Aric received multiple injuries including two broken legs, one which had to be surgically repaired,” Hutchinson said on May 8. “Broken bones in his face which also had to be surgically repaired. Broken vertebrae in his back, brain bleeds, and numerous cuts with stitches. He is physically recovering at home while trying to come to terms with the loss of his beautiful wife. Now he is doing the unimaginable of planning Sam’s funeral along with her family.”
The lawsuit was also filed by the other two injured in the crash.
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