DUBLIN, Calif. (KTVU) - The daredevil biker facing charges in a crash that killed his friend sat down with KTVU for an exclusive jailhouse interview.
Corey McDonah said he’s a completely different person more than a year after the high-speed wreck that took his friend’s life.
Back in April 2014, McDonah was laughing off charges in front of KTVU cameras, after a CHP plane caught him doing motorcycle wheelies at more than 100 miles an hour on an Oakland freeway. Last month he was back in an Oakland courthouse, ducking questions about his driving record, in the wake of a deadly crash that killed his friend and passenger Nick Obenchain, 25.
But now, in an exclusive jailhouse interview with KTVU's Henry Lee, McDonah is speaking out publicly for the first time since being charged with felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.
McDonah insists that he's dramatically changed ever since he crashed his Corvette and lost his friend.
“I was naive, you know, thought I was invincible… that these types of things only happen to other people. The things you read about,” said McDonah. “You can't look at your friend like that and go through something like that and not change, I don't care who you are.”
On July 18, 2014, McDonah was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he crashed his prized 1999 Chevrolet Corvette west of Fruitvale Avenue. Investigators also say he had marijuana in his system. Both he and Obenchain weren’t wearing seatbelts and were ejected. Obenchain died; McDonah was hurt.
But while sitting in Santa Rita Jail in Dublin since he was taken into custody in October, McDonah says not a day goes by that he doesn't think about his alleged role in Obenchain's death.
“No one goes out and plans on something like this to happen. It always happens when you least expect it. It can happen to anyone, you know, regardless of what you're doing,” said McDonah. “Driving a car is not something that should be taken lightly. You know, I have to wake up and think about the pain that his mom is going through every day.”
The mother of the victim says she isn’t sure if McDonah has learned his lesson and if he’s sorry about what happened.
“I’m trying to forgive, but because I’ve had no contact with him or his family for 15 months, he hasn’t apologized in any way,” said Yvonne Obenchain, during her first sit-down interview since the crash that took her son’s life. “So I’m in the dark. I don’t know if he’s remorseful. I don’t know if he’s learned his lesson.”
McDonah said he was advised not to speak directly with Obenchain’s family because his criminal case is still pending. But he said the family is not far from his thoughts.
“There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of what I was going to say, how I was going to say something,” he said. “You can't just walk up to someone and have a normal conversation.”
McDonah has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and two counts of DUI. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.