Corasanti juror gets 15 days in jail for first of two DWI cases - The Buffalo News

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Corasanti juror gets 15 days in jail for first of two DWI cases

A juror from the Dr. James G. Corasanti fatal hit-and-run DWI trial, who has been arrested twice this year for suspected drunken driving, Wednesday was sent to jail for 15 days and fined $650 in connection with the first arrest last April in Buffalo.

City Judge Diane W. Wray sentenced John F. Jankowiak Jr. to the maximum jail time for driving while impaired and refusing to take a breath test, and ordered the sentences to run concurrently, according to Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek.

The judge also fined him $500 on the driving-while-impaired charge and $150 on the other charge.

Jankowiak, 38, of South Buffalo, was originally charged with misdemeanor driving while intoxicated when he was arrested at 2:15 a.m. April 10 in Buffalo after crashing his car into a utility pole and driving off.

After a two-day nonjury trial in October before Wray, the judge acquitted him of the misdemeanor but convicted him of driving while impaired and refusing to take the breath test, both violations. She gave him a conditional discharge and suspended his driver’s license for 90 days.

A few hours after that verdict, Jankowiak was arrested at 4 a.m. Oct. 19 on misdemeanor DWI charges in Orchard Park after a police officer noticed that his car was weaving and that he had failed to signal on the Route 219 entrance ramp at Milestrip Road.

At the time, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Jankowiak had apparently been celebrating the City Court verdict before the officer stopped his car.

Jankowiak was arraigned Tuesday in Orchard Park Town Court. Justice Lynn W. Keane ordered him not to drink and not to drive and directed him to wear an alcohol-monitoring device on his ankle at all times as he awaits a Jan. 23 trial on the misdemeanor charge.

His attorney, Michael Bly Santa-Maria, said an alcohol monitor is generally ordered only in felony DWI cases, not misdemeanor cases, but he said he understands the judge’s decision, given the circumstances of this case.

Keane also allowed Jankowiak to remain free on the $100 cash bail that he posted after his arrest.

Wednesday, Jankowiak was in City Court to face allegations that his Orchard Park arrest violated his conditional discharge in the Buffalo case.

Wray found that the arrest violated the condition she imposed in October that he lead a law-abiding life and not be arrested again.

She then imposed the 15-day jail sentences and the fines.

During his first arrest, Jankowiak cited his experience as a juror, telling Buffalo police that he was a Corasanti juror and didn’t trust police, then refused to take a breath test.

Jankowiak did not mention the Corasanti trial when he was pulled over in Orchard Park and refused again to take a breath test.

But he did mention he had been on trial in Buffalo for DWI and had been convicted of a lesser charge, according to Orchard Park police.

Jurors acquitted Corasanti last year of felony manslaughter, leaving the scene and evidence tampering but convicted him of misdemeanor DWI.

Corasanti had faced charges that he was drunk, speeding, driving partly on the shoulder and texting and that he fled the scene after his car fatally struck Alexandria “Alix” Rice, 18, on July 8, 2011, on Heim Road in Amherst.


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