A 22-year-old Ohio man surprised both local prosecutors and his own attorney after releasing an online admission of his culpability in a fatal accident caused by his drunk driving, CNN reported on Friday.
“My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani,” Cordle said in a video posted at BecauseISaidIWould.com. “This video acts as my confession.”
Cordle had not been charged before the video was released on Sept. 3, 2013, but he says he was encouraged to lie by attorneys in order to avoid punishment for the fatal accident, in which he drove on the wrong side of the road on Interstate 670 when he crashed into Canzani, a 61-year-old photographer.
“I can’t bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can’t erase what I’ve done,” Cordle says in the video. “But you can still be saved, your victims can still be saved.”
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told WBNS-TV on Wednesday that he was waiting for toxicology reports before charging Cordle in connection with the incident, but will charge him with aggravated vehicular homicide after seeing the video.
“Boy, I’ve never seen one like this before. I would tell you that,” O’Brien told WBNS. “It was a compelling piece of video.”
Cordle’s attorney, George Breitmayer, told WBNS he was not aware of the video before it was released, but that it speaks to his client’s character.
“While it was made to raise awareness, he didn’t make it so he would be a viral sensation, so it would put the spotlight on him,” Breitmayer told WBNS. “He wants the spotlight to be the issues he’s talking about. The issues of drinking and driving. How it can happen to anybody.”
Watch CNN’s report, aired Friday, below.
Cordle’s full confession, posted on BecauseISaidIWould.com on Sept. 3, can be seen here.
Update, 8:18 p.m. EST: Vincent Canzani’s daughter, Angela Canzani, criticized Cordle’s release of the video in an interview with NBC News published on Friday.
“There’s a way to go about it, and that wasn’t it,” she told NBC. “If he wanted to raise awareness, I mean, I would’ve commended him for that down the road, but the video is totally misleading. The motives, I believe, are so he’ll get a lighter sentence.”
Angela Canzini said to NBC that Cordle has refused to cooperate with both the police and insurance officials since the accident, and that there was no question as to him being at fault for the crash.
“There was a traffic cam,” Canzini told NBC. “There was a third car involved So people are kind of looking at this like he’s just coming out of nowhere. It’s making it look like he’s confessing to a crime, Like he’s some hero or something.”