On July 3rd of 2011, Albany area teenager Alix Rice was struck by an automobile while riding her skateboard home from work. The driver of the car, Dr. James G. Corasanti, was intoxicated, texting while driving, and speeding when he swerved into the bicycle lane and hit the young girl. After fleeing the scene of the crime, Rice died.
Corasanti was later charged with driving while intoxicated in addition to vehicular manslaughter, but in an absurd twist of fate, his attorney was able to successfully argue that because of his extreme intoxication, Corasanti did not realize he’d hit an 18 year old girl, and could not therefore be held responsible for his actions. The jury acquitted Corasanti on all charges except a misdemeanor drunk driving charge and sentenced the doctor to one year in jail.
In an effort to close the loophole that allowed this man to argue that his drunken actions were not actually his own fault, the people of New York, led by Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, are fighting to change the law. The bill, called “Alix’s Law”, was approved by the New York Senate, but has now been tabled until the legislature is back in session.
In case my opinion on the matter is not clear, I am absolutely amazed it has taken this long to address such an outstanding problem in the judicial system in New York. Drunk drivers should not have any opportunity to argue their way out of legal repercussions for their recklessness. It is absolutely imperative that New York lawyers and law makers find a way to ensure that these criminals are held accountable for any property damage, injuries, and deaths that they cause.