BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Letters were written to Judge Shelia DiTullo in an effort to help Dr. James Corasanti avoid jail time for a misdemeanor DWI.
Dr. Corasanti was sentenced to a year in jail on Thursday for the hit-and-run crash last year that killed 18-year-old Alix Rice. Before sentencing, the judge was given letters by people who support the Amherst physician. Some of the letters came from patients, colleagues and friends. None were written by his family. And one of the letters came from a notable community leader.
"James Corasanti is an honest, caring, generous human being," wrote Jack Quinn, president of Erie Community College.
In one of 80 letters, vouching for Corasanti's character, Quinn notes that when his father was a patient of Corasanti's, he "displayed a medical expertise second to none and a personal connection" that his family will never forget."
Corasanti's attorney Joel Daniels read other letters, written on the doctor's behalf.
"Dr. Corasanti did save my life," read Daniels. "I'm still here eight-and-a-half years later, thanks to him. I am eternally grateful to him, Richard Mizano, long term patient."
Quinn, a former congressman, included in his letter examples of how Corasanti stood up for those who "just needed a break." Corasanti created "two separate scholarships" at Erie Community College and funded these scholarships himself.
Corasanti, Quinn wrote, "has had a positive, sometimes life-changing affect on thousands of students all across western New York."
But that wasn't enough to persuade Judge DiTullio, who was focused on the life changing effect Corasanti had on Alix Rice and her family last July.
"I read all the letters on your behalf. All the letters praising your medical skills. I read them carefully," DiTullio said in court. "The fact that you are an accomplished doctor does not absolve you from your criminal actions."
No one from Corasanti's family was in the courtroom when he was sentenced on Thursday.
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