COLUMBUS, Ohio — The central Ohio man who confessed in an online video to killing another driver in a wrong-way crash after a night of drinking told a newspaper that he might have gotten a lighter sentence had he not made the now-famous recording.
In a jailhouse interview with The Columbus Dispatch, Matthew Cordle, 22, acknowledged that the case probably wouldn’t have become a national story if he hadn’t made the YouTube video, which has gotten more than 2 million hits. And he said he might have ended up with less time than the 6 1/2 years in prison he got from the judge on Wednesday.
“The video got a lot of attention and required appropriate reaction from the court,” Cordle told the newspaper. “If I didn’t make the video and quietly did this, I may have gotten a lighter sentence. As to what may have happened, there’s no way of knowing.”
Cordle, who lives in Powell, was sentenced after pleading guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and drunken driving. He faced from two to 8 1/2 years in prison.
In the video, Cordle confessed and announced he would plead guilty to killing Vincent Canzani, 61, in the unsolved wrong-way, drunken-driving crash on I-670 on June 22.
He said making the video was “not a courageous act.”
Instead, it was something the social-media-savvy man felt he needed to do to accept responsibility, reach out to the victim’s family and make himself a “cautionary tale” about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Cordle said that before the June crash, he frequently drove drunk. He attributed the heavy drinking partially to mental-health problems that include depression and anxiety.
“I wasn’t in a very good place,” he said. “I was out drinking a lot, out partying a lot. … I would describe myself as a bit lost.”
He said he doesn’t recall much from the night of the crash, awakening in a hospital still drunk and not wanting to believe he had killed a man. But he eventually gained acceptance.
“As much as I feel guilty for saying something like this, it has given me a purpose now — something I can grasp on to and spend the rest of my life fighting for,” he said.