Corasanti Trial Day 11: Accident Reconstruction

12:41 PM, May 15, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY-- The trial for Dr. James Corasanti did not resume on time Monday morning. 

Court proceedings were scheduled to start at 10am, but the trial was put on hold for an hour while the attorneys and defendant met in the Judge's chambers.  Both sides discussed court exhibits before the trial resumed.

A Senior Investigator for Accident Investigation with Amherst Police was the only witness of the day.  Robert McMahon told jurors that once hit, 18-year-old Alexandria Rice was thrown "40 feet in the air and her body likely skidded 39 feet on the concrete." This testimony made Alix's father particulary emotional in court.

The experienced investigator said based on point of possible perception, he believes Dr. Corasanti should have seen Alix 345-350 feet before the crash on Heim Road last July.

Defense attorney Tom Burton objected to McMahon's point of perception estimate, saying it was based on a photo taken with someone standing in daylight, making no reference to nighttime conditions, with a driver sitting in a car, and a person possibly crouched on a skateboard. Judge Shiela DiTullio said Investigator McMahon's testimony, based on his expertise, was admissable and Burton could bring up his issues during cross-examination.

Dr. Corasanti is accused of hitting Rice last July while she was riding her longboard on Heim Road and leaving her to die.

Senior Investigator McMahon was the only witness Monday and will return to the witness stand on Tuesday. 

The morning was spent establishing McMahon's background and credentials.  He is trained to do collision reconstruction.

He is the one who determined that Rice landed "167 feet" from the point of impact to the final spot where body was found.

Based on his experience, McMahon testified, "Whenever a pedestrian is struck, he's always knocked out of his shoes."

McMahon testified Alix's left shoe was found 10 feet from the point of collision. Her right shoe 74 feet away. Her cell phone was 27 feet farther than her body.

McMahon said "my belief is [the cell phone] was attached to her body or in her hand." He added as her body came to rest, he believed the body released it.

The investigator said the lighting "was very good," with 42 street lights in a 1.8 mile stretch of Heim Road from North Forest to Dodge.

And he testified Corasanti's "top of the line" headlights not only move when the car turns to better illuminate the street, but the high beams also turn on automatically in low-light situations.

Investigator McMahon said Alix was traveling about "5 MPH" on her longboard and that, "it took 6-7 seconds to travel 48 feet diagonally across."








Investigator McMahon said Alix was traveling about "5 MPH" on her longboard and that, "it took 6-7 seconds to travel 48 feet diagonally across."

But at one point it seemed his testimony may have helped the defense. He said Alix's "center of mass was low" and she was in "some type of type of squatted position" at impact, furthering the defense team's claim that at the time of the crash she was below Corasanti's line of sight.

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