Corasanti takes the witness stand

May 18, 2012

 Dr. James Corasanti was called to the witness stand Friday morning in his vehicular manslaughter for the fatal hit-and-run death of 18-year-old Alexandria Rice.

Defense Attorney Joel Daniels called Corasanti to testify in day 14 of the trial in Erie County Court. The courtroom was packed in anticipation of Corasanti taking the stand.

Corasanti has been shedding tears throughout his testimony about the night his car struck and killed Rice. He told the court he had about five drinks in the six hours he spent at the Transit Valley Country Club before he headed home that night. 

Corasanti testified that he felt his car run over something, but did not know what he hit.  He said he continued home, but when he saw the damaged to his car, he immediately called his attorney.

After choking-back tears and murmuring under direct questioning by his defense counsel, Corasanti was able to compose himself for cross-examination.  When asked by Prosecutor James Bargnesi if he would "stretch the truth" to avoid punishment, Corasanti insisted "no."

The 56-year-old Getzville man also testified that alcohol, texting, the speed of his car, and driving in the bike lane were not factors in the hit-and-run death last July.  Bargnesi went on to ask why he refused a breathalyzer test nearly three hours after Rice was killed if he only had a couple of drinks and considered himself to be sober.  Corasanti said he was just following the advice of counsel.

Prosecutor James Bargnesi pointed out several residents near the scene testified hearing the loud crash.  But Corasanti concluded his day's testimony by stating he never saw or heard the hood of his car buckling from hitting Rice.    

Corasanti will be back on the stand when the trial resumes Monday.