Accident investigator says Corasanti was speeding; defense cross-examines

May 15, 2012

The investigator who reconstructed the scene where 18-year-old Alexandria Rice was struck and killed stepped down Tuesday afternoon after spending two days on the stand.

The charges against Dr. James Corasanti of Getzville include vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident for the July 8, 2011 fatality.

In testifying for the prosecution, Amherst Police senior accident investigator Robert McMahon said Dr. Corasanti was driving between 46 and 52 mph when his car hit Rice. The speed limit on Heim Road is 35 mph.

McMahon said he took the average of four standard formulas used by accident investigators around the world to determine the speed of Corasanti's car. He said at a slower rate, the girl's body would not have traveled 167 feet from the point of impact.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Tom Burton challenged the "sophisticated" mathematics used by McMahon. Burton said the "cookie cutter" formulas did not take into account that Rice was moving on a skateboard when struck.

Burton also took issue with McMahon's previous testimony that Corasanti swerved into the bike lane. The accident reconstruction specialist admitted the investigators found no evidence of tire marks on Heim Road from a car swerving and said it was a poor choice of words.

Burton went on to ask about the dirty rag that police found in Corasanti's trash. The senior investigator said based on his years of experience it smelled like a dead body. Burton once again pointed out no DNA evidence was found on the rag linking it to Corasanti or Rice.

The trial resumes on Thursday.