BUFFALO, N.Y. - The trial of Dr. James Corasanti resumed Thursday at noon, after a day off on Wednesday, with one of the male jurors being dismissed. Corasanti is accused of hitting Alexandria Rice with his car and then leaving her to die on Heim Road in Amherst last July.
The dismissed juror had delayed the start of Thursday's proceedings because of car trouble. Later, it was discovered he was arrested and charged with DWI.
Dr. Robert Osiewicz, the Erie County Medical Examiner's Chief Toxicologist, testified at the end of the day that Dr. Corasanti's BAC could have been between .14 and .21 at the time of the accident.
He said he used a retrograde extrapolation method to come up with that range. Dr. Osiewicz said he considers his methods "conservative" in order to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt, and to account for a number of unknown variables.
During cross-examination, Defense Attorney Joel Daniels pointed out how many details are unknown in coming up with this estimate, including what time Corasanti had his last drink, and how much of it he actually consumed.
"At the time of the accident, was all of the alcohol absorbed, or was some of it still in his stomach?" said Daniels.
"Given the timing as I understand it, the vast majority of it would have been absorbed," said Dr. Osiewicz.
"You don't know for sure," said Daniels.
"That's correct," said Osiewicz.
Dr. Osiewicz also testified that marijuana was in Alexandria Rice's system. He said it was "a very low amount." He later said it could have been caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
When testimony got underway around noon, Hope Dalrymple, a nurse at Millard Suburban Hospital, was first on the stand. She's the nurse who drew Dr. Corasanti's blood shortly after 4 a.m. on the morning of July 9, 2011. Dalrymple testified that Corasanti was brought in by an Amherst police officer. When questioned about how the Dr.'s eyes looked, the nurse replied "they appeared a little glassy."
During cross examination, Daniels tried to discredit the blood draw procedure saying Dalrymple did not fill the test tube to its maximum volume. The nurse said in her opinion, the maximum volume is "when the blood stops flowing" -- it doesn't have to be completely filled to the top.
After lunch, Colleen Corcoran, a Toxicologist from the Erie County Medical Examiners Office took the stand. Under direct questioning, the Buffalo native who spent most of her career working in Louisiana explained the procedure she took on the Monday after the accident, checking in Dr. Corasanti's blood sample into the computer system.
Corcoran testified that there was 3 tubes of blood. Two of the tubes were filled with 6 milliliters of blood, while she said the third only had a minimal amount of liquid in it. She went on to say that she used only a small amount to conduct a base drug screen test, and further explained how she was able to perform such test without contaminating the rest of the blood sample.
During cross examinations attorney Joel Daniels asked Corcoran questions pertaining to her checking for different types of prescription drugs.
Also taking the stand after Corcoran was William Kaufman, a Forensic Toxicologist for the Erie County Medical Examiners Office. Kaufman testified that he used the same samples, this time on Wednesday strictly to determine blood-alcohol determinations.
Just like Corcoran did, Kaufman explained how the procedures he used before conducting his test. Kaufamn used the calculation from two separate test samples conducted at the same time to conclude that Dr. Coransanti's blood alcohol county was .10-percent.
WGRZ/ sketches by Ralph Sirianni