On June 21st, 2013, 22-year-old Matthew Cordle was out “drinking very heavily” with friends when he decided to get behind the wheel. He blacked out while driving on the highway and crossed into the opposite lane, colliding with another car head on. The accident killed a 61-year-old veteran and photographer named Vincent Canzani, and Mr. Cordle didn’t take responsibility for his death–until now.
In a sobering video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Mr. Cordle, a resident of Columbus, Ohio, confessed.
“I struck a car,” he says, his face and voice distorted for the first half of the video. “I killed a man.”
When the camera blur fades and his reflection comes into view he says, “My name is Matthew Cordle and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. This video will act as my confession.” Mr. Cordle continues to say that he will plead guilty when charges are filed against him and intends to take full responsibility for his actions. The county prosecutor has already said he intends to ask the state to indict Mr. Cordle.
The video is powerful and serious testament to the dangers of drinking and driving and the importance of taking responsibility for poor choices, but it’s also something else: it’s a promotional video for a new not for profit startup called Because I Said I Would.
The nonprofit’s website calls it “a social movement dedicated to bettering humanity through the power of a promise.” In addition to helping “execute charitable projects in support of other non-profit organizations,” Because I Said I Would offers free “promise cards,” little postcards that users can write on to help them remember to keep the promises they’ve made.
The idea came to the company’s founder, Alex Sheen, after his father died of lung cancer in 2012. “Promise cards help you remember the importance of your commitments and goals,” reads the site. “They were handed out for the first time at my dad’s funeral. He was good with his promises.”
Mr. Sheen, who shot the confession video, will most likely encounter some blowback for using a manslaughter confession to market his budding nonprofit startup (at least no one’s hoping to get IPO bucks?). Perhaps sensing this, he posted a long explanation of why he decided to work with Mr. Cordle to get his confession out there. Mr. Cordle reached out to Mr. Sheen about doing a confession after seeing the work he had done with Because I Said I Would.
“Against all legal advice, Matthew decided to make this video and release it prior to any charges being filed against him,” says the site. “His goal is to raise awareness about the terrible consequences that drunk driving can have on innocent people.”