Man charged in drunken driving death after YouTube confession

Matthew Cordle, who participated in a slickly-produced confession of allegedly killing a man while drunk in June, has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

Cordle being arraigned Monday. Columbus Dispatch Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When a man makes a YouTube video confessing to causing the death of a 61-year-old man while he was drunk at the wheel, you might expect an indictment.

On Monday, a grand jury in Ohio decided that Matthew Cordle, 22, should be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.

As the Columbus Dispatch reports, Cordle's lawyer, George Breitmayer, announced that his client would plead guilty.

He added that the Cordle's YouTube video (which has now been seen by more than 1.3 million people) hadn't been made on the advice of his counsel.

"He genuinely wanted to raise awareness about the serious issues surrounding drinking and driving," he said.

While many have praised Cordle for coming forward, some have wondered why he did it by making the video, in which he comes across as sympathetic.

The incident happened in June. He could have quietly gone to a police station at any time to make his confession.

"We're hoping that the judge who views this case takes all the factors into consideration: personal and, I guess, national and all the, I guess, greater issues at play in this case, " Breitmayer said.

Some might feel that the greatest issue is that Cordle ended the life of 61-year-old Vincent Canzani, by driving drunk the wrong way down a highway.

At the time of the crash, Cordle's blood alcohol level was measured at 0.19. The legal limit is 0.08. However, prosecutor Ron O'Brien told the Dispatch that the police investigation had not yet been completed.

Cordle is likely to get anything from 2 to 8 and a half years in jail.

Martin Midian, another lawyer representing Cordle, told the Dispatch however: "A heavy-handed sentence could send the wrong message that accepting responsibility is the wrong thing to do."

If he does receive a sentence in the lower ranges, some will get the message that making a YouTube video helped.

For his part, O'Brien told the Dispatch that his plan is to ask for the maximum possible sentence.

 

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