A Drunk Driver's YouTube Confession: "I Killed a Man"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 6 2013 2:40 PM

A Drunk Driver's YouTube Confession: "I Killed a Man"

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The above video was published on YouTube on Tuesday, but largely went unnoticed until this morning. In it, a 22-year-old Ohio man takes responsibility for a summer car crash that left a 61-year-old man dead. "My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession," Cordle says after explaining that he was "blackout" drunk when he got behind the wheel and drove the wrong way on the interstate, eventually crashing head-on into Canzani's vehicle.

To be clear, Cordle isn't confessing to a crime that he had not already been linked to, only one that he had not yet been charged with. Although he had not previously been named publicly, police had identified him internally as the driver of the wrong-way vehicle and say they were simply waiting to finish their full investigation before taking the next step. (Medical staff at the hospital where Cordle was taken following the crash described him as "very, very drunk.")

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The confession does, however, speed up what comes next. The local prosecutor tells the Columbus Dispatch that he plans to ask a grand jury on Monday to indict Cordle on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony that carries a sentence of between two to eight years.

For his part, Cordle makes it clear that he won't fight the charge. "I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I’ve done to Vincent and his family," he says in the video, during which he says that he spoke to several lawyers who had suggested they were optimistic they could get him off if he were to fight the charges. "I won’t dishonor Vincent’s memory by lying about what happened," Cordle says, adding that he's willing to accept his punishment in order to help convince others of the dangers of drinking and driving.

"I beg you, and I say the word beg specifically, I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive," Cordle says at the end of his online confession. "Don’t make the same excuses that I did. Don’t say it’s only a few miles or you’ve only had a few beers. ... I can’t bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can’t erase what I have done, but you can still be saved. Your victims still can be saved."

Note: Cordle reached out to Because I Said I Would ahead of his confession, and the non-profit helped film the video earlier this week, which explains its rather high production values.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated.

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