The groom whose bride was killed by an accused drunk driver on their wedding night is now involved in a legal battle with her mother over the woman's estate and the validity of their marriage, the Post and Courier reports.
Lisa Miller, the mother of Samantha Miller, filed a petition to remove Aric Hutchinson as the personal representative of her daughter's estate, citing "issues of potential fraud" and "conflict of interest." Miller's attorney has filed, withdrawn and refiled a motion to intervene in a wrongful death lawsuit Hutchison filed on behalf of Samantha's estate in relation to the fatal crash that also left him with injuries.
The estate is expected to earn a large settlement in the lawsuit, which was filed against the driver, Jamie Lee Komoroski and several local bars accused of serving her alcohol beyond the point of intoxication prior to the crash. Attorneys representing Hutchinson referred to Lisa Miller's motion to intervene as "morally questionable" and "legally baseless" in a December 1 memo of opposition, acknowledging that South Carolina law states that the spouse is entitled to money and property and is given the role of personal representative of their estate if a married person dies without a will.
“Aric has been more than generous with Lisa Miller — offering her half of the money — and she has repaid him by threatening to bring a frivolous challenge to the validity of his marriage to Sam,” said Patrick Wooten, an attorney representing Hutchinson, via the Post and Courier.
“One would hope that Ms. Miller would have too much respect for her own daughter to do that,” he added.
Lisa Miller claimed that she declined the offer due to a provision that prohibited her from speaking about the settlement, telling the Post and Courrier that her daughter would've wanted her and Hutchinson to be equal partners following her death.
“Aric and I agreed several times that Sam would want us to do everything together given we’re the two most important people in her life,” she said. “I never wanted to challenge the validity of the marriage. I never wanted to dishonor Sam. But I feel like Aric is dishonoring my daughter in going against her wishes.”
Komorosk faces three charges of felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury or death and one count of reckless homicide in relation to the crash in which she's accused of drunkenly ramming a rented Toyota Camry into a car carrying the couple and two other passengers hours after their wedding. Police said Komoroski was driving about 40 MPH over the 25-MPH speed limit at the time of the crash and smelled of alcohol but refused a field sobriety test.