On September 3, a driver confessed in a video posted online that he was to blame for a wrong-way car crash stemming from a night of heavy drinking that killed another man. In the video, the driver stated that he was willing to take ‘full responsibility.”
The 3 1/2 minute video was posted on YouTube and at least one other site and quickly went viral. The man in the video, 22-year old Matthew Cordle, described what led to the accident in which he killed a man in June. “My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani.” Cordle went on to state that “This video will act as my confession.” In the video Cordle says he made a mistake when he decided to drive his Jeep home after a night of “drinking really heavily.” Cordle’s face is blurred at the beginning of the video as he describes how he has struggled with depression and was trying to have a good time with friends going bar to bar the night of the accident. He then describes how he ended up driving into oncoming traffic on Interstate 670 near Columbus Ohio. Cordle’s face becomes clear and he reveals his name and confesses to killing the 61 year old Canzani. Cordle ends the video “begging” viewers not to drink and drive.
Several days after the video appeared, Cordle surrendered to authorities and was charged with the wrong way accident. On Wednesday, Cordle honored his stated intention to take full responsibility when he pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 10th and faces a maximum sentence of 8 1/2 years in prison for his charges.
While confessions aren’t new, Cordle’s actions are unique in that he took the initiative and did so via video. He was clearly not coerced and did not give the statement as a result of interrogation by police. In some circles, Cordle is being applauded for taking responsibility and giving the family closure. Others take a more cynical view and believe that Cordle was not sincere and only made the video in an attempt to curry favor with the Court and receive a lighter sentence.