Day 12: Investigator Determined Corasanti Was Speeding

1:44 PM, May 16, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - A senior investigator for Accident Investigation with Amherst Police was back on the stand Tuesday for Day 12 of Dr. James Corasanti's trial.

Investigator Robert McMahon is trained to do collision reconstruction.

McMahon testified Tuesday morning that, based on his calculation, Dr. Corasanti was traveling between 46.5 and 52.85 miles per hour when he struck Alix Rice on Heim Road.

The speed limit on that section of Heim Road where the accident occurred is 35 mph.

Prosecutor Kelley Omel asked the investigator, "If he [Corasanti] had remained in his lane of travel, would Alexandria Rice been struck?"
Investigator McMahon replied, "No." 

When asked how much time Corasanti would have had to react at the point of impact, McMahon testfied, "Two seconds."  He said the normal reaction time is 1.5 seconds.

During cross examination, defense attorney Tom Burton took aim at how the investigator did the calculations. The investigator didn't rely on one formula. Burton said, "They are cookie cutter formulas that you can get yourself in trouble if you don't use the formula you used."

Burton kept saying the speed calculations were "assumptions" of the investigator.

Also, during cross, McMahon admitted "it's scientifically possible" Corasanti's BMW was traveling 39.5 mph. 

During questioning Burton said, "There is not an iota of proof that Jim Corasanti swerved his vehicle when the accident occurred." The investigator responded, "We have no physical evidence of that." 

Dr. Corasanti is accused of hitting Rice with his vehicle and leaving her to die on Heim Road last July.

McMahon agreed that after Alix cut in front of driver Mark Rowland and before the impact there was a period of eight seconds during which no one saw her.

McMahon also agreed that Rice she could have been doing slolemns, cuts and curves on her longboard.

Defense attorney Burton counted out eight seconds to show just how long it is. Prosecutor Belling objected, saying we don't know if Burton's timing is accurate. It was sustained.

The most emotional moment of the afternoon came when the defense team pulled out an exact replica of Alix's 4 ft. longboard prior to the accident.

The Amhest Police Department had it made by the same longboard company. It brought some of the family members to tears upon seeing it.

There was an emotional moment in court when the defense showed an exact replica of Alix's 4 foot longboard prior to the accident. It brought some of the family members to tears when it was shown.

Burton had McMahon show there was nothing reflective on the back of longboard or the wheels, and nothing reflective on her clothing or nylon bag as she was riding home from work, with plans to meet her father as he DJed karaoke.

This is a YouTube video posted on Alix's memorial Facebook page of her singing at a similar night of karaoke with her father.

Finally, testimony shifted back to the maggot covered rag found in the trash outside the Corasanti's Getzville home.

While McMahon admitted there was no flesh or tissue or DNA evidence on the rag, he did say, "It smelled like a DOA- a dead on arrival when you get to a home where mail backs up."

The trial will resume on Thursday. The next prosecution witness is actually the "last" prosecution witness and we're told it's a DNA expert. The defense will then present its case. They have about five witnesses, mostly all experts. And it's unclear whether Dr. Corasanti will be one of the first to take the stand for the defense or the last.

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