Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A doctor charged with manslaughter after he hit a skateboarder with his car and drove off without stopping was acquitted Wednesday of all major counts but convicted of a misdemeanor DWI.
The Erie County Court jury in Buffalo reached their decision in James Corasanti’s case after two days of deliberations.
During the monthlong trial, prosecutors argued that Corasanti was drunk, texting and speeding when he hit and killed 18-year-old Alexandria Rice after a country club outing last July.
Defense attorneys countered that he didn’t know he’d hit a person until he got home and began investigating the damage to his car.
Corasanti was indicted last fall on charges of vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and tampering with physical evidence. Together, the charges carried a potential prison term of up to 23 years.
Rice was struck the night of July 8 as she skateboarded along a suburban Buffalo road on her way home from her job at a pizzeria. She was thrown 167 feet, and her neck was broken on impact.
Prosecutors said Corasanti’s blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit for driving five hours after the accident.
Corasanti’s lawyers said the girl was moving along in a crouched position wearing non-reflective clothing.
Taking the stand in his own defense, Corasanti said he never saw Rice and would have stopped and done whatever he could to help her if he’d known what had happened.