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Thread: Sad Story/ Charged with murder over in-dash dvd! Merged thread

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate Insight's Avatar
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    Sad Story/ Charged with murder over in-dash dvd! Merged thread

    Driver charged with murder in accident


    Associated Press


    POSTED AT 9:30 AM EDT Tuesday, Jul 27, 2004


    Anchorage, Alaska — When a pickup truck crossed the double yellow line along the Seward Highway and killed two occupants of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, police initially thought the accident was another tragic mistake by a momentarily distracted driver.

    Then they spotted the dashboard DVD player.

    In what may be the first trial of its kind in the United States, prosecutors have accused the pickup truck's driver of second-degree murder for watching a movie instead of the road when he crashed head-on into the Jeep.

    The pickup's driver, Erwin Petterson, denies using the DVD player as he drove north on Oct. 12, 2002, and contends that he was only listening to music from a compact disc, said his lawyer, Chuck Robinson.

    “It's an excessive charge for what happened here,” he said. “This was not a murder. Even the state medical examiner said during cross-examination that the manner of death for the people in the other car was accidental.”

    Mr. Petterson, 29, is accused of killing Robert and Donna Weiser of Anchorage while on a three-hour drive between Kenai and Anchorage. In his truck was the equivalent of a home entertainment system — a DVD player, speakers and a Sony PlayStation 2.

    While no Alaska law prohibits operating a DVD player in view of a driver, prosecutor June Stein said the facts warranted charging Mr. Petterson under one of two theories: that he knew his conduct was substantially certain to cause death, or that he knowingly engaged in conduct showing extreme indifference to human life.

    Initial Alaska State Trooper reports said Mr. Petterson was at fault when he took his eyes off the road to reach for a soft drink. Mr. Stein, though, will try to prove that the DVD player was on, apparently playing the movie Road Trip.

    “We know it was,” she said. “It was wired so that the screen was in the open position when the ignition key was turned out.”

    The murder trial, which got under way last week in Kenai Superior Court, may be the first of its kind in the nation, said Matthew Swantson, director of communications for the Consumer Electronics Association, a trade association.

    Installed as recommended, DVD players and TV screens are either visible only from the back seats or will not work unless the vehicle is in park. Owners can defeat the safety measures, however, by installing the devices themselves, as Mr. Petterson did, prosecutors say.

    Liz Neblett, spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said more than 25 per cent of police-reported crashes are distraction related, which covers everything from cell-phone use to changing stations on a radio, screaming at kids, eating, applying makeup or reading a newspaper.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servl...International/

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  2. #2
    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    Yes, a sad story indeed. The fact that the dumbass with the DVD player doesn't know his limits while driving. I feel sorry for the people he hit.
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    Maximum Bitrate falconey's Avatar
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    I heard about this a while back.

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    Raw Wave rando's Avatar
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    There's an even scarier part of this. Suppose he really wasn't watching a DVD? Just having a system 'capable' of doing so might be enough to tip the scales (give an angry jury a reason to side with a grieving family) against him. I don't plan to use any of video or desktop applications while driving (just music and voice nav). Still, I'm eager to get an interlocking mechanism installed to comply with CA law and as a liability policy against this kind of accusation should I ever get into an accident.

    Frodo, you're going to help us out with 1.09 right?

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    Charging him with murder is more then a little extreme. (I wonder if someone is looking for a little publicity before they run for office.)

    This is one of the reasons I'm not installing a DVD/CD drive with my CarPC. CarPC will be for MP3s (of CD's I've ripped myself ... if for no other reason then I hate the rip quality when others do it) and an Always-On GPS.

    The GPS is the prime reason I'm doing it. Getting very sick of the handheld GPS and the constant turning it on and off and reaquiring.

  6. #6
    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    There's an even scarier part of this. Suppose he really wasn't watching a DVD? Just having a system 'capable' of doing so might be enough to tip the scales (give an angry jury a reason to side with a grieving family) against him. I don't plan to use any of video or desktop applications while driving (just music and voice nav). Still, I'm eager to get an interlocking mechanism installed to comply with CA law and as a liability policy against this kind of accusation should I ever get into an accident.

    Frodo, you're going to help us out with 1.09 right?
    Yes, but I don't plan on locking out external apps. What would be the point ?
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    Last time I tried. You can't play DVD's in XP unless you also install DVD Software ... It isn't a built in feature. Only trick now will be figuring out a way to disable playback of .AVI , .mpg, ...

    Hmm seems more and more that I'm looking at a WinXP Embeded solution.

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate Supermike's Avatar
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    Geesch, this is not what I needed to hear. I had read about this before, but did not know the details.

    After sitting on a Jury recently I was happy to know that we applied common sense and what I consider good judgment, but I also know that the opposite can be true as well - you are playing the odds as a defendant. Comments such as Defiler's which automatically are biased against this man simply because he had the capability of watching a DVD are unfortunately what many people will say. Truth is that the scenario of being distracted reaching for a soft drink is just as likely - carputer or not.

    What is most disturbing about all this is that even if there is an interlock, the state could say that you defeated it or were watching movies from the hard drive. Since nobody has a stock carputer or one that is professionally installed, they could argue that you put it in and would know how to have it display video. What if the hard drive was destroyed and you could not prove that you had frodo's software loaded - or there were no video files on there? They could say that the serial interlock is useless without the software which is simple enough to defeat. Sure the state has the burden of proof, but they can and will suggest these things to the jury.

    I built my carputer more as a project or toy, but if it automatically will put me on the defensive should I get in an accident, that is not worth it. That seems to be exactly what happened to this guy. Right now my system is not even functional due to a bad HDD, but that would mean nothing in a similar circumstance.

  9. #9
    Raw Wave rando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frodobaggins
    Yes, but I don't plan on locking out external apps. What would be the point ?
    Well we need to make a distinction between external apps (music players, gps software, and other car "control" / interface programs) and productivity applications and/or video playback applications (DVD Players, Internet Explorer, Word, Excel, Notepad, Autocad, ...). The former appear to be compliant with the law (I'm no lawyer though) while the latter are not. For your external application buttons, perhaps each one can have a configuration property that allows the user to specify if they should be 'locked out'. What do you think?

  10. #10
    I'm sorry, and you are....? frodobaggins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rando
    Well we need to make a distinction between external apps (music players, gps software, and other car "control" / interface programs) and productivity applications and/or video playback applications (DVD Players, Internet Explorer, Word, Excel, Notepad, Autocad, ...). The former appear to be compliant with the law (I'm no lawyer though) while the latter are not. For your external application buttons, perhaps each one can have a configuration property that allows the user to specify if they should be 'locked out'. What do you think?
    I will look into it.
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