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Alexandria "Alix" Rice had hoped to study at Erie Community College before her life ended late Friday, when she was hit by a car driven by a man accused of being drunk.

The suspect, Dr. James G. Corasanti, a gastroenterologist with Buffalo Medical Group, once served as chairman of ECC's board of trustees.

Rice, 18, of Amherst, had just earned her GED about a month ago and was considering ECC, according to her mother, Tammy Schuler.

"She took a lot of art classes and was interested in all types of art," Schuler said. "She always put forth the effort."

An avid skateboarder, Rice was skateboarding home from a job at Bocce Club Pizza on Hopkins Road about 11:20 p.m. when she was struck in the 500 block of Heim Road, Amherst.

Amherst Police said Rice was struck by Corasanti's 2010 BMW. Corasanti allegedly fled the scene. Rice was pronounced dead in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital a short time later.

"She died doing what she loved," her mother said.

Corasanti, 55, of Getzville, was arrested later, after police tracked him to a gas station on Millersport Highway.

He was charged with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Additional charges are possible, police said.

Shortly after his arraignment in Amherst Town Court on Saturday, Corasanti posted $100,000 bail and was released. Prosecutors had originally asked that he remain in jail without bail.

Corasanti and his attorney, Cheryl Meyers Buth, declined to comment outside court.

Attorney Tom Burton, whose legal firm has been retained by Corasanti, said the doctor turned over his car "completely voluntarily," with a written waiver from counsel in place of a search warrant.

Corasanti refused a blood sample test to determine his blood-alcohol level and answered few questions from investigators, prosecutors said. His driver's license has been suspended.

The impact of the crash threw the young woman 60 feet, onto the lawn of Marc Meyer. Police said Corasanti continued driving west.

"This road, they speed like crazy here," Meyer said. "We had a serious motorcycle accident here a few years back."

It has yet to be determined how fast the BMW was traveling at the time of the collision.

There are no traffic or pedestrian lights along the section of Heim, which curves through the suburban neighborhood. The posted speed limit is 35 mph, but Meyer said it is not uncommon for motorists to zoom by at 60 mph.

Flowers left by a friend and a small piece of the skateboard were left at the scene of the tragedy Saturday afternoon.

Andrew Bernstein, a co-worker of Rice at the pizzeria, said she had been working about five days a week for the last six months.

Bernstein said Rice enjoyed conversation -- a trait her mother could attest to.

"For her whole life, she was very personable, regardless of who she was talking to," Schuler said.

Tory Kent, 18, said she went to high school with Rice at Williamsville North and recalled her outgoing personality. Rice had attended Depew High School before transferring to Williamsville North in her junior year.

She dropped out of school her senior year and later passed her GED examination.

"She was her own person -- she was the new girl from Depew," Kent said. "She was known for riding her long board."

Corasanti has been employed with Buffalo Medical Group since 2003 and was formerly chairman of its board of directors.

Since his arrest, he has voluntarily withdrawn from patient care activities on a temporary basis, according to a statement issued by Buffalo Medical Group.

He also is the medical director of the GI Endoscopy unit at Buffalo General Hospital and a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Corasanti's next court date is Aug. 10 in Amherst Town Court.

A funeral for Rice will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Beach-Tuyn Funeral Home, 5541 Main St., Williamsville.

News Staff Reporters Maki Becker and Lauren Mariacher contributed to this report

e-mail: jbolitho@buffnews.com