ALDEN, N.Y. (WIVB) – Dr. James Corasanti walked out of jail a free man early Friday morning. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says Corasanti was released from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office “without incident.”
News 4 learned Friday morning that Corasanti’s early release was scheduled ahead of time by his attorney. This is said to happen with high-profile cases, and also for Corasanti’s safety.
He has been serving time at Alden Correctional Facility for common law DWI, in connection to a fatal accident on Heim Road that claimed an 18-year-old girl’s life.
The crash happened in July 2011, after Corasanti had been at a “martini golf” outing at Transit Valley Country Club. Alix Rice was skateboarding home when Corasanti’s BMW struck her, throwing her body more than 150 feet. She was declared dead a short time later.
About an hour and a half after the crash, Amherst Police met Corasanti at the Noco station on Millersport Highway. Corasanti reportedly refused a blood test until there was a court order. He was charged with vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors said Corasanti was drunk, speeding, and texting at the time of the crash.
Defense argued the accident was tragic and horrible, but not criminal; said Corasanti did not know he hit Rice, and that if he had, he would have stopped to help. Corasanti took stand in own defense, he testified under oath that he drank liquor and wine that evening.
Corasanti was found guilty of common law DWI, meaning the jury felt that the doctor was drunk, but that there was no evidence of that other than observation. On August 16th Corasanti was sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail, $1,000 fine, ignition interlock device for one year, and his driver’s license revoked for six months.
Now that Corasanti has served his time, he has a just under eight months of good behavior. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office tells News 4 Corasanti was a model inmate, they say he reads a lot, exercises, and attends religious services.
Corasanti was released two days early because New York Corrections Law requires jails to release inmates on the preceding Friday if their release date falls on a weekend or holiday.
Corasanti will keep his medical license, and be free to start back practicing as soon as Friday. The doctor was sanctioned by the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct, which is a $10,000 fine and five years probation. Corasanti plans to resume his practice in western New York, but there is no confirmation of where he will be practicing.
While on probation, he can only practice medicine when supervised by a licensed physician, a sobriety monitor and a therapist. Corasanti must submit to random unannounced blood, breath or urine tests.