published Monday, September 9th, 2013

Ohio man who confessed in video charged in crash

By KANTELE FRANKO

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio driver who made an online video confessing that he caused a fatal wrong-way crash after a night of heavy drinking was charged today with aggravated vehicular homicide.

In a 3½-minute video posted last week, Matthew Cordle admitted he killed a Gahanna man and said he "made a mistake" when he decided to drive that night.

"My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani," he says somberly. "This video will act as my confession."

Cordle was expected to turn himself in this afternoon and is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien said Cordle faces up to 8½ years in prison if convicted.

The 22-year-old Powell man also is charged with a misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

O'Brien previously said Cordle's blood sample from the night of the crash tested positive for alcohol and negative for drugs. The indictment alleges Cordle's blood-alcohol level was more than twice the level at which Ohio authorities generally consider a driver to be impaired.

A message was left today for Cordle's attorney, George Breitmayer III, who has called the video "a strong testament" to Cordle's character.

The video was filmed Sept. 3, and the version posted on YouTube has been viewed more than 1.2 million times. It begins with Cordle's face blurred as he describes how he has struggled with depression and was simply trying to have a good time with friends going "from bar to bar" the night of the accident. He then describes how he ended up driving into oncoming traffic on Interstate 670. Cordle's face becomes clear as he reveals his name and confesses to killing Canzani.

He ends the video by pleading with viewers not to drink and drive.

"I can't bring Mr. Canzani back, and I can't erase what I've done, but you can still be saved. Your victims can still be saved," Cordle says. Then a message appears on the darkened screen: "Make the promise to never drink and drive."

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