Corasanti juror pleads guilty in second DWI case - The Buffalo News
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Corasanti juror pleads guilty in second DWI case

A juror from the Dr. James G. Corasanti fatal hit-and-run DWI trial, who just finished serving a 15-day jail sentence in a Buffalo drunken-driving case, now faces up to a year in jail for driving drunk in Orchard Park.

John F. Jankowiak Jr., 38, of South Buffalo, pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor driving while intoxicated Oct. 19 in the town, admitting that he was driving drunk after leaving a Hamburg bar.

Jankowiak was arrested at 4 a.m. after an Orchard Park police officer noticed that his car was weaving and that he had failed to signal on the Route 219 entrance ramp at Milestrip Road.

The arrest came a few hours after a Buffalo City Court judge had acquitted Jankowiak of another misdemeanor DWI charge in connection with his arrest at 2:15 a.m. April 10 in Buffalo after he struck a utility pole and drove off.

When Jankowiak was arrested in Orchard Park, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said the defendant apparently had been celebrating the City Court verdict before the officer stopped his car.

Jankowiak was arraigned Nov. 12 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. She set a January trial date.

But Jankowiak pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor DWI and making an unsafe turn. He will be sentenced Jan. 23 by Keane, according to Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek.

He could face up to a year in jail and up to three years’ probation.

In the Buffalo case, City Judge Diane W. Wray acquitted Jankowiak on Oct. 18 of misdemeanor DWI after a two-day nonjury trial, but she 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.

Jankowiak was back in City Court on Nov. 13 when Wray found that his Orchard Park arrest violated the condition she imposed in October that he lead a law-abiding life and not be arrested again.

She then sentenced him to 15 days in jail and fined him $650. He recently completed that sentence.

During his Buffalo arrest, Jankowiak told police that he was a Corasanti juror and didn’t trust police. He then refused to take a breath test.

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

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. He was sentenced to a year behind bars and served eight months.

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


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