AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)- Tammy Schuler looked drunk drivers in the eyes Thursday night.
“I know James Corasanti did not set out to kill my daughter July 8, of 2011. But he did. It was not an accident, it was the result of someone who thought they could operate a motor-vehicle after consuming too much alcohol,” she said before a Victim Impact Panel at the Amherst Town Court.
She’s a regular speaker at these panels, which are organized through Erie County’s Stop DWI program.
Her biggest tragedy has turned into a chance to warn others about the dangers of drinking and getting behind the wheel.
“It can be your child, it could be you, it could be your next door neighbor, it could be anyone of us, any day of the week,” she said.
Almost five years ago, Alix was killed when Dr. James Corasanti hit her with his car.
He was convicted of a misdemeanor DWI.
Schuler was joined by another panelist, with a very different story.
“I’m not an innocent victim. I’m a victim of my own mistakes,” said Rick Mirti.
Mirti drove drunk for years, until one day it caught up with him
“I had IV needles in both my hands. I had a tube coming out of one side of my nose, I had a tube coming out of the right side of my chest,” he recalled.
Rick has been sober for decades, but told News 4 he’s able to connect with DWI offenders, and hopefully help steer them in the right direction.
“I think most people think and feel in their heart that they’re okay when they get behind the wheel,” Schuler said.
Both Tammy and Rick shared pictures, and answered questions from the audience. They say based on the looked they see among offenders, they’re helping to make a difference.