New York doctor acquitted of hit and run

May 30, 2012 at 9:28 PM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., May 30 (UPI) -- A jury Wednesday acquitted a Buffalo, N.Y., doctor of felony charges related to the death of an 18-year-old girl but convicted him of driving while intoxicated.

Alexandria Rice was riding her longboard home from work at 11:20 p.m. July 8 when Dr. James G. Corasanti struck her with his vehicle. She was killed almost instantly from a broken neck.

Prosecutors argued Corasanti, who was driving home from a country club outing, was drunk and using his cellphone to send text messages at the time of the collision.

Corasanti, 56, maintained throughout the monthlong trial -- which sparked outrage in the community -- that he did not realize he had struck the girl until after he arrived home, The Buffalo News reported.

"The jurors found reasonable doubt," Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III told the News Wednesday after the verdict.

"They believed the claims and explanations of Dr. Corasanti," he added. "Personally, I didn't believe them. I wasn't on the jury."

Corasanti was acquitted of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and two evidence-tampering charges for allegedly deleting text messages from his cellphone and removing blood and body tissue from his vehicle.

A conviction on manslaughter charges would have required prosecutors to prove criminal recklessness and drunken driving directly led to Rice's death, the newspaper said.

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