Attorney for Driver in Fatal Crash Says He Suffers from Brain Damage

The San Bruno man who suffered a seizure that caused him to crash his car and kill two cousins last month has a history of mental illness and run-ins with the law, his attorney says.


Despite the fact that he apparently knowingly got behind the wheel when he suffered from regular seizures, resulting in a fatal crash that killed two and injured others including a child, there is a reason behind Rodney Corsiglia's history of bad decisions, according to those close to him.

Corsiglia, 49, of San Bruno, suffered a brain injury when he was a kid that has given him problems all his life that he has never been able to overcome, said Chuck Smith, an attorney who has represented him over the years.

Now, Corsiglia and other charges after killing two cousins in a crash at El Camino Real and Sneath Lane in July.

"Going out driving and causing the crash was a horrible tragedy," Smith said. "His family is reaching out to the deceased's family and trying to make this horrible human tragedy better.

"But the notion that he should be branded a murderer and locked up for the rest of his life is simply wrong."

According to Smith, Corsiglia has a number of siblings who have all enjoyed successful lives and careers.

But when he was younger, he had an accident on a swing that left him with a brain injury, and mentally retarded.

Then, in Corsiglia's late 20s, Smith said he had to have surgery to take out a brain tumor. But a reaction during the surgery caused Corsiglia to suffer from seizures for the rest of his life.

He worked as a janitor for a while, Smith said. But with his mental illness, he knew he couldn't achieve in life what his brothers and sisters had done.

Smith said Corsiglia's long rap sheet is a result of his seizure disorder, but prosecutors don't agree.

Corsiglia has had multiple run-ins with the law, dating as far back as the late 1980s.

In addition to , Corsiglia has had a number of DUIs. In 2004, he was convicted of domestic violence against a live-in girlfriend, and he spent four months in jail and served probation, according to court records.

Corsiglia's problems may have allegedly stemmed from his mental disorder, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. But he put others in danger by disregarding a condition he has known about all of his life on the day when he , which left two cousins dead, Wagstaffe said.

"He's been knowing about it all of his life, and he didn't care and decided to drive anyway," Wagstaffe said. "Two wonderful fathers lost their lives because of it, and I have no sympathy for what he has done, which is why we charged him with murder."

Corsiglia, who is being held at San Mateo County Jail without bail, is now awaiting to enter a plea with his new attorney. He is expected back in court in September.


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