Dr. James Corasanti appears in Amherst Town Court.
BUFFALO, NY - The lawyer representing Dr. James Corasanti in a fatal hit-and-run wants several counts dismissed. It was also revealed that the 18-year-old victim had drugs in her system at the time of the accident last July.
Alexandria Rice was killed after being hit by Dr. Corasanti's vehicle on Heim Road in East Amherst. The teen was going home from work on her longboard, similar to a skateboard, when she was struck and left to die on the road.
Dr. Corasanti is charged with vehicular manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, leaving a deadly accident scene and tampering with physical evidence.
Defense attorney Joel Daniels asked the County Court Judge to dismiss most of the counts. Daniels claims the vehicular manslaughter charge "improperly shifts the burden of proof to the defendant."
Daniels also denied that the doctor was intoxicated and texting at the time of the accident. However, the lead prosecutor in the case noted that Dr. Corasanti's blood alcohol level was .10, when it was drawn five hours after the accident as a result of a court order.
Prosecutor Kelley Omel said evidence will show that the defendant sent two text messages at 11:23 p.m. just two minutes after the accident was reported by a passenger in another vehicle.
Attorney Daniels said toxicology tests revealed that the teen victim had marijuana in her system. He also asked the court to obtain copies of the teen's mental health records.
Prosecutor Omel told the court, "we find the request offensive, it is a blatant effort to blame the victim."
Defense attorney and legal analyst Tom Eoannou says he wasn't surprised by the actions of Daniels, who has an obligation to defend his client, as uncomfortable as it may be.
"You never like to attack someone who's deceased but when the facts are as Joel stated today, you need to bring them up."
Eoannou says the defense team has to do whatever it takes to show alcohol did not have a direct relationship to the death.
"Maybe he was going down the road and maybe the individual on the skateboard was more toward the center of the road in dark clothing and maybe alcohol had nothing to do with this and it's an accident and a tragedy but it's not a crime," says Eoannou.
Dr. Corasanti's trial is scheduled to begin in April.