Prosecution rests, past DWI will not be allowed in Corasanti trial

May 17, 2012

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.  

Judge DiTullio also denied the prosecutions request to question Corasanti about a past DWI. 

Daniels said he was considering having Corasanti testify in his own defense, but wanted to ensure the People would not be allowed to ask Corasanti about his prior Driving While Impaired charge.  Prosecutor Christopher Belling argued it's important in evaluating the doctor's credibility for the jury to know that 16 years ago in Niagara County, Corasanti was cited for driving out of his lane with a blood alcohol count of .16.  But the Judge agreed with the Defense that it would be prejudicial and said she will not allow it. 

Later, Daniels called his first witness to support the Defense's claims that Rice was reckless in skateboarding at night.  Twenty-year-old Andrew Calabrese said as he approached a stop sign at Dodge and Heim roads, he almost hit Rice shortly before she was killed. Calabrese said after slamming on his brakes, he stopped and got out to see if Rice was okay, but Rice did not stop. 

Under-cross examination, Calabrese admitted that moments before, he was texting while driving. He said without a stop sign, Rice had the right of way.  And he could "see her for a while" in the bike lane going down Heim Road in her bright neon-yellow shirt.