A local woman who lost her own sister to drunk driver a few years ago says Judge Sheila DiTullio should be praised for sentencing Dr. James Corasanti to a year in prison.
Deanna Russo with the Crusade Against Impaired Driving applauds the judge's decision to issue the maximum sentence.
"She is sending a message to the community that drinking and driving should be taken seriously, and even though it was just the DWI charge... it was still serious enough for her to say 'you're going to jail for a year,'" said Russo.
Saying the hit-and-run accident which killed Alexandria Rice last summer showed a loophole in state law, the State Senate yesterday passed "Alix's Law" which makes drunken drivers responsible if they leave the scene.
Senator Patrick Gallivan says the trial showed Dr. James Corasanti had been drinking and told the jury he didn't realize he had knocked Rice off her skateboard and killed her and left the scene.
The senator, a former state trooper, says drunken drivers are more likely to leave the scene and less likely to realize they have hit someone.
Alexandria Rice's father Richard and her mother Tammy Schueler say they are "unhappy, shocked, dissatisfied [and] disappointed" with the verdict against the man who struck and killed their daughter.
Dr. James Corasanti was acquitted Wednesday of the most serious charges in the hit-and-run death of 18-year old Rice. The jurors cleared Corasanti on two manslaughter charges as well as tampering with evidence and leavening the scene of an accident without reporting, resulting in death. Corasanti was only found guilty on a DWI charge.
Defense attorneys in the Dr. James Corasanti trial Thursday asked for reductions on two of the three counts to less serious charges.
Attorneys for both the prosecution and defense in the Dr. James Corasanti vehicular manslaughter trial met with Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio Thursday to discuss the charges against Corasanti.
The defense rested its case late Tuesday in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst.
Closing arguments are slated for next Tuesday, May 29. A standard defense motion to dismiss the case was denied by Judge Sheila DiTullio.
In testimony Tuesday, an accident reconstruction consultant testified Corasanti wasn't driving as fast as police estimated the night he struck and killed Alexandria Rice, and that Rice was half-way out of the bike lane at the time.
A defense request to dismiss all charges against Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst was denied Thursday. Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio denied the request by defense attorney Joel Daniels, who was seeking to have all five charges against the Amherst doctor dropped.
The prosecution rested its case late Thursday morning after calling its 37th witness to the stand. Corasanti is accused in the fatal hit-and-run of Alexandria Rice last July while she was riding on her longboard on Heim Road.
Cell phone company records indicate Dr. James Corasanti sent and received nearly 80 text messages the day Alexandria Rice was killed. But by the time investigators seized Corasanti's phone, most of them were gone.
Amherst Police Technical Services Officer Thomas Barillari testified legal procedures kept investigators from seizing Corasanti's phone until August 1, nearly three weeks after Rice was struck and killed along Heim Road.
The medical examiner who conducted an autopsy on Alexandria Rice was among those called to the stand today in the continuing manslaughter trial of Dr. James Corasanti in Erie County Court.
The first witness called on Day 6 of the trial was Amherst Police Detective John Trabert. He testified about arranging what investigators call a "controlled pick-up" of the garbage that Corasanti's placed at the curb in front of their house the week after Rice was struck and killed while skateboarding on Heim Road.
Dr. James Corasanti's vehicular manslaughter trial resumed for its fifth day Thursday afternoon in Erie County Court with the Prosecution calling registered nurse Hope Dalrymple.
Dalrymple is the RN at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital who carried out the court-ordered DWI blood test on Dr. Corasanti five hours after the car he was driving struck and killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice as she was skateboarding on Heim Road the night of July 8, 2011.