Vincent Canzani was a 61-year-old Navy submarine veteran living in Ohio. Divorced with two daughters, he was an amateur photographer and a cigar connoisseur who'd just recently started working part-time at his favorite tobacco shop, the Tinder Box, in Columbus. Around three in the morning on Saturday, June 22, Vincent was driving down a stretch of the interstate and a truck hurtling the wrong way crashed into his Jeep. Vince was pronounced dead at the scene.
The truck operator, who'd been speeding into oncoming traffic, survived with injuries. A medical professional who treated the driver described him as "very, very drunk." His name wasn't released, but officials said no charges would be filed against him until they finished the ongoing investigation.
This past Tuesday, the drunk driver came forth, publicly identifying himself in a video posted to becauseisaidiwould.com on YouTube. “My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani," the 22-year-old says. "This video will act as my confession.”
In the video, posted above, Cordle says that the accident happened after a night of bar-hopping with his buddies, when he got into his truck "completely blacked out" and somehow ended up driving into oncoming traffic. In the aftermath of the fatal accident, he claims he consulted lawyers who told him they could probably get off if he was willing to lie. "I won't go down that path," he declares. “When I get charged, I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I’ve done to Vincent and his family.”
In the monologue, Cordle insists that his motivation for identifying himself in this way is to deter others from doing what he did, telling themselves those little lies that allow senseless deaths like this to happen. “I beg you, and I say the word beg specifically, I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive," he says. "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 or you do it all the time and it'll never happen to you because it happened to me and all those are just excuses to make yourself feel better about a decision you know is wrong."
The clip is jarringly slick for a homicide confession. Cordle apparently reached out through Facebook to Alex Sheen, a fellow Ohioan who runs the website becauseisaidiwould.com, and asked him to shoot the footage.
“He feels very, very guilty for what he has done and he is just struggling with this,” Sheen told the Columbus Dispatch. “He wants to take responsibility for this. I can sympathize with him wanting to help people.”
The Columbus Dispatch also reports that Cordle's lawyer wasn't aware his client intended to do this, but that the local prosecution has already seen Cordle's statement:
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien watched Cordle’s video three times. “It’s the most compelling video I think I have seen. He strikes me as remorseful and sincere,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien said he received the completed police investigation yesterday and will ask grand jurors on Monday to indict Cordle on a charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. The second-degree felony carries a prison sentence of two to eight years.
A video of the local-news coverage of the initial crash is here:
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