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Senate passes 'Alix's Law' for accident scenes

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It will be harder to leave the scene of an accident and get away with it under legislation unanimously approved in the State Senate Monday.When Dr. James Corasanti struck and killed Alexandria 'Alix' Rice July 8, 2011, he left the scene saying he didn't know he had hit anything. The jury believed it and Corasanti was only convicted of drunken driving.

Senator Patrick Gallivan saw that as a flaw in the law and filed 'Alix's Law,' which make it a felony to leave the scene of an accident if the driver knew, or should have known, he had hit something.

Gallivan says what happened on trial convinced him something had to be done.

"It strikes me as so bizarre that the driver of the vehicle was found guilty of one crime, driving while intoxicated, and then acquitted of leaving the scene," Gallivan told WBFO News.

The Republican says the legal change shifts the burden at trial from the prosecutor to the defense.

"Rather than having the burden on the State of New York to prove that the person knew, or reasonably should have known, now that drunk driver would have to prove why he didn't know or why he reasonably should not have known," Gallivan said.

The bill now goes to the Assembly for action.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.