Matthew Cordle does not want your admiration.
He knows some people are finding inspiration in his courage. We are told this upsets him. He thinks they’re missing the point.
The point is, he killed someone.
Vincent Canzani was a 61-year-old photographer, Navy veteran and father of two daughters. In the pre-dawn hours of June 22, he was traveling on I-670 in Columbus, Ohio, when his Jeep was struck head-on by a Toyota Tundra speeding east in the westbound lanes. Canzani died at the scene.
Cordle, 22, was critically injured in the crash. As of last week, he had not been arrested. Then, without his attorney’s knowledge, he recorded a video, a wrenching, professionally produced clip that makes his guilt clear as mountain air.
“I killed a man,” he says. The screen is black. Somber music rises, a heavily pixelated face appears, and in an electronically altered voice, it tells the story. How he was out bar-hopping with friends. How “sometimes I drink because I have depression that I struggle with every day.” How drinking made him someone “people don’t like being around.” How he drank to excess then got behind the wheel. How Canzani paid with his life.
“Immediately following that, I consulted some high-powered attorneys who told me stories about similar cases where the drivers got off. They were convinced that they could get my blood test thrown out and all I would have to do for that was lie. Well, I won’t go down that path.”
Here, he faces the camera without pixelation, speaking in his natural voice. “My name is Matthew Cordle,” he says. Yes, he says, he knows this video will likely help convict him. The point is moot; he intends to plead guilty. He closes with a plea: “I beg you — and I say the word beg specifically — I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive.”
Cordle’s video wound up on Because I Said I Would (becauseisaidiwould.com), a website dedicated to the power of promises. He wants people to promise not to do what he did. Monday, he was arrested and indicted on charges that could put him away for up to eight and a half years. And yes, that penalty would be well deserved.