Distracted Driver Acquitted in Fatal Collision

A man accused of causing a fatal collision by watching a DVD movie while driving was acquitted Tuesday of two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of manslaughter by a Kenai Superior Court jury.

Erwin "Jamie" Petterson Jr. (search), 29, of Kenai was charged in the deaths of Robert Weiser, 60, and Donna Weiser, 56, of Anchorage on Oct. 12, 2002.

Prosecutors contended that Petterson and a passenger were watching an in-dash DVD movie when Petterson's northbound Ford F-150 crossed the centerline, hitting the Weisers' Jeep Grand Cherokee head-on on the Seward Highway.

Petterson testified that he was not watching a movie but instead was listening to music. He said his truck strayed into the other lane when he looked over to get a soda.