Corasanti Verdict Inspires Proposed Change in Law

June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 6:41 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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June 7, 2012 Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 6:41 PM EDT

ELMA, N.Y. (WKBW) It caused a public uproar. The acquittal of Dr. James Corasanti on five felony charges related to the DWI hit-and-run death of 18-year old Alexandria Rice.

The Getzville doctor was only convicted on a misdemeanor DWI charge.

"How can someone be convicted of DWI and get away with leaving the scene of the accident?" asks New York State Senator, and former Erie County Sheriff, Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma).

Under the current vehicle and traffic law, a person must "knowingly, or have cause to know, that they caused personal injury."

It was this legal restriction that the jury in the Dr. Corasanti trial had to struggle with.

"There was no evidence presented by anybody that he knew that he hit a person, and because of that, we could not convict him on that," adds one of the Corasanti jurors.

But New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan says the legal loophole has to be changed when it comes to intoxicated and impaired drivers

"Their intoxication or impairment seemingly could provide a defense that "they didn't know." That's crazy."

On Wednesday, Gallivan sponsored a bill that would amend the vehicle and traffic law to make it a crime for intoxicated or impaired drivers to leave the scene of either a personal injury, or property damage accident.

Gallivan says he hopes the NY State legislature will act on the law before the end of the current legislative session.