Defense rests its case in Corasanti trial

May 22, 2012

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 witness in Dr. James Corasanti's hit-and-run trial testified  that Corasanti was driving slower than police claim when he struck and killed Alexandria Rice on Heim Road last July.

Earlier in the trial, an Amherst Police investigator said Rice was hit by a car going 46-to-53 miles-per-hour. But accident reconstruction consultant David Liske says based on measurements taken at the scene by police, the car traveling about 40 mph.  The speed limit on that section of Heim Road is 35 mph.

Liske testified he believes Rice was crossing the road when she struck.  The consultant said microscopic stress marks in the skateboard show it was run over sideways, not from behind.

Liske also said most of Rice's 4 1/2-foot-long skateboard was partially in Corasanti's driving lane, not the bike lane, and that Rice would have been low to the ground, below the hood-line of Corasanti's car.

The prosecution also called in a rebuttal witness this afternoon, despite defense protests. Robert Osiewicz, chief toxicologist for the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office, explained to the jury his lab's procedures for testing blood samples. Yesterday, jurors heard a toxicologist testify that the blood results should be declared invalid because faulty testing methods were used.