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Deposition 1 - deposition of witness in products liability case - Part 3
Q. Okay. Is there recognized in any engineering any variance built into that analysis?
A. Based on that analysis, I would say that within plus or minus five degrees. It's certainly not plus or minus fifteen.
Q. Okay. You acknowledge that it could be a five-degree difference from what you've testified to. Is that correct?
A. Something on that particular order, but it's not very far.
Q. And what is the basis of your opinion that it's not very far?
A. The damage to the vehicle.
Q. ?? are the pieces of the vehicle that allow you to conclude that it could be zero to five degrees but not zero to ten degrees?
A. I don't believe it was zero to five. I'm just saying within any engineering -- you asked me to put some ?? parameters on it, and I'm giving a generality of plus or minus five degrees. And without doing extensive reconstruction, which would involve quite a bit of time of laying this out and so forth, I can't give you an exact whatever.
But I'll just say, based on the damage that's on this vehicle, based on the damage that the building shows, that this vehicle was essentially going straight down the road, but it happened to run into the building. It was zero degrees, might have been zero maybe a half a degree, I don't even think it was up to five, but in accidents, you could be plus or minus five degrees as opposed to plus or minus fifteen degrees.
You're shifting between a general question and a specific question and that's why I'm changing around on you.
This car went head-on into the end of that building.
Q. Have you now shown me all the photographs that you relied upon in your statement that the suspension links for the left corner of the front of the vehicle were damaged and bent?
A. I've shown you most of them. Here's a couple more. This particular one here is not marked, but it's got left side at the top, and that one shows the control arm bent, as does the photo here that's marked, I guess that's marked YY. That also shows it.
There may be others. I've certainly picked the ones that are the ones that demonstrate it the most. Then, of course, there's some in my photos here that show it.
(Exhibit Nos. 13 and 14 marked.)
Q. Okay. Could I just ask you to circle on 13 or 14 those portions of the photographs that you believe are supportive of that opinion.
A. (witness complied)
Q. Then, if you would, read into the record those photographs that were from your photographs taken June 30 of this year the numbers of those photographs which you believe are supportive of that opinion.
A. Page 11. I don't have to read the zeros in front for you?
A. It's page 11, page 12. I think that's the ones I've marked. And then relative to my inspection also, we do have a videotape that I took that shows it.
A. That was Exhibit 6.
Q. And so I think your next opinion was those on the right side were not bent or deformed, however, they were cut off.
A. Hell, back up one more. Here's two more sets of photos that show the left. But, like I said, there may even be more than these, but you asked me all. And I'll circle it on that photograph there. That photograph there and there's two pages, six photos, three on each page, and I've marked two on one page and three on the other to show the left front bent.
(Exhibit Nos. 15 and 16 marked.)
Q. Okay. Then I think you stated that those suspension links on the right side were not bent or deformed, however, they had -- were cut off. Is that correct?
Q. And that was your second statement, and what photographs were you looking at in formulating that conclusion?
A. Okay. Exhibit 6 is on top, which is my photos. And page 12, bottom photo, page 13, there's only one photo shows it pretty clearly.
Q. Those were the photographs you took June 30. Correct?
Q. Were there any photographs that were taken before yours of June 30?
A. Yes. I was just starting at the top and --
MR. HENDERSON: Are you through going through Exhibit 6?
THE WITNESS: That's the only ones I've marked.
MR. HENDERSON: Okay.
THE WITNESS: I'm pretty sure our video shows it too. But there's that stack. There's a photo showing the right front not bent. There's a photo right here that shows the right front not bent.
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. You know, just looking at these three, they look to be ?? three. I don't want to -- we don't need to replicate these if we don't have to. These seem to be the same three pictures in a different configuration but you tell me.
A. Yes, they do, and I think this is the clearest to show what we're talking about.
Q. Okay. Let's not replicate things. That will be fine. You don't have to show me each copy of the same photograph. Just if you have a different photograph that you also relied on, that's fine.
A. I think I handed you that. Has that the same?
Q. Yes, you did.
A. No, no. Do you have this one? You guys mixed up and sent me all the multiple copies.
MR. HENDERSON: That's my fault.
THE WITNESS: No, it's not. You got them from him.
(Exhibit Nos. 17 and 18 marked.)
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. Ask you just to circle on Exhibits 17 and 18 those photographs which are showing --
A. Okay. 17 is the top left which is the good blow-up of it.
MR. HENDERSON: You're talking about the top left photograph. Right?
THE WITNESS: Top left photograph. Correct. And on 18, holding the sheet vertical, it's the bottom picture.
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. Okay. This is, again, the right front suspension link.
A. It is.
Q. And it connects to what? The axle?
A. Attaches to the axle on the right side of the vehicle as the left side attaches to the axle on the left side of the vehicle.
Q. And being unbent shows you what?
A. Shows that it's consistent with the line of force that I've determined and the fact that it was intact and not loaded at the time of the vehicle collision, and it's consistent with the photographs of the vehicle postaccident, which show the right front wheel in its normal position.
MR. HENDERSON: Were you looking through other photographs?
A. I think I got all the right fronts that there are. We started with mine. Then, of course, the video. Now, wait a minute. I take that back. Excuse me.
Q. When you say normal --
A. I've got these two. Now, that one was the duplicate. Did you have this one? It's the bottom photo in that.
Q. I think that's what you've already given to me; isn't it?
MR. HABECKER: I'm not sure.
Q. Is that different?
A. I think that's another one.
(Exhibit No. 19 marked.)
MR. HENDERSON: Did you just circle something?
THE WITNESS: I circled Exhibit 19, the bottom photograph.
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. You said intact and not loaded at the time of the collision. What did you mean?
A. Well, there's no deformation to the control arms, which would indicate that they weren't overloaded, which would indicate that the forces of the collision were not seen by those control arms.
A. In the photographs, there are ?? of the vehicle that show that Che right front tire is intact, it's inflated following the collision, and it looks like it's in relative normal car position, which would indicate that it's attached. Add to that the path of the vehicle and what the vehicle did and so forth allows you to draw a conclusion that it was working okay.
MR. HENDERSON: Did you want him to point to the photos of the right front tire or to identify them?
A. Yeah, let's see if I can find it. Here it is. I flagged it. Here's the -- this is a photo in the notebook showing the right front wheel and tire inflated in normal position.
MR. HENDERSON: Rather than -- off the record.
(Discussion off the record.)
MR. HENDERSON: The photograph that you just handed Mr. Carter is the same as Boulter Kelsey Deposition Exhibit 10, Photos A and B. Is that correct?
THE WITNESS: That's correct.
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. The statement that the observation with regard to the right front suspension link was consistent with the line of force, that merely meant that there had been no loading on it to cause deformation as you observed on the left. Correct?
A. I don't think I follow that question.
Q. Well, I mean, when you pointed to the left-hand one, you said this shows where the line of force was because this shows deformation on the left suspension link. Is that what you were saying?
A. No. The deformation on the control arms is consistent with the line of force down the wheel and tire that I described. It's what you would expect to see.
Q. Right. And so on the right side you're saying --
A. On the right side it does two things for you. It shows you what it would look like undeformed and it also indicates no loading, overloading to those components on that side, which, again, is consistent with what you see in the vehicle, consistent with its path, and consistent with its collision.
Q. Okay. Again, though, that merely goes to the issue of the line of force. Correct?
A. No. I think it goes to the claim that there's something wrong in the front suspension.
Q. Well, if you say --
A. Excuse me. It does one other thing that we haven't covered here. It shows there's no A-frame in the front suspension of this vehicle, as claimed by Mr. Kelsey, which covers one of my statements further down.
Q. Okay. So, when you say it was intact and not loaded at the time of the collision, you're referring to the fact that there was no deformation visible from your observation. Correct?
A. Was not overloaded.
Q. There was no deformation?
A. No deformation, no excess loading from the collision, which would have bent it.
Q. If the suspension link fails, is there any way to determine which way the vehicle would move?
A. Yes. If you define the suspension link that fails, you can define the direction the vehicle is going to go.
Q. The right suspension link.
A. If the right suspension link would fail, I would expect the vehicle, in this instance, to go to the right.
A. Because it's going to -- if you are -- those links hold the axle in its normal position and its normal position would be allowed to move it to the rear if one of the links had failed. It would also allow the axle to roll if it was only one arm, because those -- the reason there's two in there is to control the roll of the axle, and the axle would roll and move somewhat rearward. That would put right steer into the vehicle, and the vehicle would go to the right.
Q. Would that occur in every occasion where there would be a failure of the right suspension link?
A. On a four-wheel drive '97 Dodge, yes.
Q. Would it have to be in four-wheel drive for that to occur?
Q. So every time there might be a manufacturing defect that results in a failure of the suspension link on the right front side, the vehicle will move to the right.
A. In my opinion, it will move to the right, yes.
Q. Are there other engineers who ?? reasonably competent who can reach other conclusions about the method or manner of movement?
A. Based on the type like Mr. Kelsey, yes. If they understand the systems and they've done any vehicle testing, no.
Q. Have you ever had any dealings with Mr. Kelsey before this case?
A. I may have. I don't recall. I've had cases in St. Louis and vaguely think that I may have had one, but I can't say for sure.
Q. Well, is it your opinion that he's not competent to render opinions in this case?
A. Well, Mr. Kelsey has told us in his disclosure that there's an A-frame in this suspension, which tells me that he hasn't even taken time to understand what this -- how this vehicle is put together. That's incompetence.
Q. Hell, in your opinion --
A. In my opinion.
Q. In your opinion, was there anything else that he misstated --
Q. ?? than his opinions?
A. Well, he sent a technician out to take pictures of the vehicle and made a statement that there's a problem in the rear suspension, and the technician didn't cover all the components of the rear suspension.
They're all there and there's nothing wrong in the rear suspension, and a reasonable person would conclude there's no rear suspension problem in this car.
Q. Were they connected? Were they connected to what's left in the frame of the vehicle?
Q. How do you determine those portions of the rear suspension that you say are part of this vehicle are or were the parts that were associated with this vehicle?
A. The ones that are important are on the vehicle. So somebody would have had to take them off and put something else on, which is highly improbable.
Q. I agree, but it's possible, is it not?
A. Oh, yeah, it's possible.
Q. I mean, this vehicle was -- has been cut up and taken apart over a considerable period of time. Is that correct?
Q. Well, the practical world it didn't happen. Is it possible? Yeah, but nobody took those springs out and put other ones on.
Q. You have no idea what's happened to this vehicle since it was moved from the position that was displayed in the first page, which are Sub A and B of Exhibit 10 to the Kelsey deposition. Is that correct?
A. I have no idea of the exact procedures that were handled between the time of the accident and these pictures on down through when I saw the remains of the vehicle the other day.
Q. You said also that the frame was relatively undamaged.
Q. Did you determine that purely by visual examination without aid of any technological device?
A. Oh, I think a tape measure could be considered a technological device. It's a measuring instrument. It's not precise, but it's within an eighth of an inch, and from an accident reconstruction standpoint, it tells me that the frame rail is basically undamaged.
Q. Okay. If you assume that the vehicle at question here was going to -- or suffered some type of failure, manufacturing failure that would cause it to lose steering control, what would be all of the things that you would look at to rule that in or rule it out?
A. Hell, let's start in front suspension with the steering. If a tie rod would separate, that would disconnect the steering wheel from the wheel being controlled by that tie rod. If you're driving 35 miles an hour down the road, one of two things adversely could happen but probably wouldn't, based on the polar moment of inertia of a spinning wheel at 35 miles an hour.
But if an adverse condition would happen, the wheel would either track around the steering axis by virtue of the drive force because we're in four-wheel drive in this instance, and it would rotate forward and, if it was the left front wheel, it would rotate and turn right; if it was the right front wheel, it would rotate and turn left.
If the tie rod were separated and it wasn't the drive force and you applied the brakes, the scrub radius would cause the vehicle's wheel to turn the opposite direction.
If the wheels did ??, either one, the operator can't get them back. They go to their steering stop and stay in that position.
So, if the operator were driving down the road and had a defect in the steering system and it caused him to start to the left, it would be impossible for him to turn it and get some right steer back in and go into that building straight.
He would have gone through the fence or he would have gone in at a very relative steep angle into the building, and you would have crush across the whole front of the vehicle.
Q. You say he would have gone at a relatively steep angle because that was his initial path?
A. No, because of the steer input caused by the wheel turning in that direction. It would be a significant steer input.
Q. So there's no control on the wheel from the operator's perspective. Correct?
A. On the two hypothetical that I gave you, yes, that's correct. There is no control, once the tie rod separates and once he causes the two things that could happen to happen. But, again, if you run a vehicle at ?? an hour and you do some testing on it, you will find that this type of vehicle, the wheel keeps on going and it's steered by virtue of the input from the other wheel.
And typically, if you're driving down the road at highway speeds and you drop a tie rod, you don't know it until you come to a stop, and that's typically when tie rods separate because, number one, that's when they see high loads and, number two, it's when the wheel can adversely react to the high loads.
Q. Is the wheel -- is the wheel at that point I'm going to use the term free-floating?
A. No. The wheel, if you disconnect the steering arm or the steering linkage from the wheel, the wheel is operating, number one, as a gyro as it's spinning, and it's being held in position by the geometry of the front suspension.
And, as you've all -- you've all gone into the supermarket, and when you steer your shopping cart to the left, the front wheel steers to the left, when you steer it to the right, the front wheels steer to the right. It's because of the geometry designed into those casters, and it's the caster in the caster that causes them to do that.
The vehicle has caster, and it has steering inclination that do those things.
Q. So if it strikes some object or something in the road, it can be deflected one way or another?
A. Not very easily because of the gyro effect of the wheels' spin.
Q. Can it be deflected?
A. If you hit it hard enough, it could be.
Q. Okay. The deflection, that would account for the movement of the vehicle in one direction or another. Is that correct?
A. But, again, if we deflect it, it goes to the full stopped position and the operator can't get it back. So if that takes him across the road, he's still going across the road, and in this instance it has to be a left steer condition.
Q. Other than the tie rod separating, what else would you be looking for to explain a failure, manufactured failure that would result in loss of steering control in a vehicle?
A. A suspension component that would disconnect to allow the axle to shift, which would basically allow the vehicle to be steered like your kid's wagon; it would pivot about the right side, and about the remaining component it would roll and shift.
Q. Have we talked about that with regards to the photographs we've reviewed on the suspension links?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Anything else involved in that aspect?
A. Well, the -- yes. The important thing that's involved in that from a physical standpoint and an analysis standpoint is the condition of the wheel and tire that we're talking about, the left front wheel and tire.
Q. And you're basing your opinion entirely on the Photograph A and B in Exhibit 10 to Kelsey that you say shows the wheel in a normal position and fully inflated. Correct?
Q. Okay. What else is your opinion based on about that condition of that wheel?
A. I'm basing that on the actual condition of the wheel, which is shown in the photos.
Q. I think I just said the photos.
A. Yeah, the wheel photos.
MR. HENDERSON: I think this is the right front wheel, Jim.
MR. CARTER: That's what we're asking.
THE WITNESS: The answer for the right front wheel picture, no, I'm not basing it on that. I'm basing it on the wheel pictures. I've got those marked.
MR. CARTER: Oh, the rim, the wheel itself.
THE WITNESS: Yeah. Particularly the one on the bottom.
MR. CARTER: Okay. Let's mark this.
(Exhibit No. 20 marked.)
MR. HENDERSON: The photograph that he's referring to is Photograph D from Exhibit 10 from Mr. Kelsey.
MR. CARTER: Can I see that, please.
THE WITNESS: Sure. In particular it shows the tire deflated and unseated.
MR. CARTER: That's the left front?
THE WITNESS: Correct.
MR. CARTER: That was a picture taken in January of 1998. Correct?
THE WITNESS: That's what I'm told, sir. I don't know.
BY MR. CARTER:
Q. Okay. Looking at what's been marked Exhibit 20, when were those photographs taken? Do you know?
A. I don't know. I don't know who took them.
Q. You don't know who took them?
Q. Do you know where they were taken?
Q. Do you know what's displayed in them?
A. What is displayed in them? I notice there are three tires and wheels, and there's the rear frame section of the subject vehicle or appears to be the subject vehicle.
Q. Okay. And what is the significance of what's displayed in Exhibit 20 to this opinion about --
A. Well, the photo that Exhibit 10 that we referred to shows the vehicle in the snow, I assume it's in December or it's in the '98 time frame, shows that the tire is unseated off the wheel on the left front of the vehicle after the accident, and then the photos that I handed you in Exhibit 20 show two tires and wheels that appear to be okay, and it show us one that has a big chunk of the inner rim knocked out, which would be consistent with what I see in the photo, which would be consistent with the tire being unseated and deflated as shown in the photos.
It also is consistent in that the Photo 10 shows that the outer rim on the subject vehicle is -- appears to be intact, but you can't see the inner rim in this photo.
MR. HENDERSON: That's 10D you're talking about.
THE WITNESS: 10D, I'm sorry.
Q. So the photograph, as I'm looking at this, with one -- Exhibit 20 with one photo on the top of two tires and rims and the lower right is a tire and a rim, and you're saying that the photograph on the lower right of the tire and rim is what you believe displays the tire and rim that's shown on the left front portion of this vehicle in Exhibit 10.
A. I'm saying that, if that's the tire and wheel that is on the vehicle, it shows the proper type of damage for the collision, as I have analyzed it. The damage to the rim is in the right place.
If the vehicle had gone in with the -- a steering defect with the wheel splayed at a left steer condition, we would see, number one, a totally different accident, but we'd also see different damage to the wheel. That's consistent with a wheel going into the hard corner of that body and loading the inner rim.
Q. And you have no idea where these tires or wheels came from, do you?
A. No, I don't.
Q. You're speculating that they're even related to this vehicle, aren't you?
MR. HENDERSON: Object. They were taken by Mr. Kelsey's technician, so --
Q. Hell, they were tires and rims that are out in this junk yard. I mean, is there anything that indicates they're associated with this vehicle? any record? any documentation? anything whatsoever?
A. No. All I'm dealing with --
MR. HENDERSON: Let him finish his question.
Q. Excuse me, that's a yes or no. Is there anything that you're aware of that reflects that these are in any fashion related to the vehicle in question? When I say “these,” I mean the tires displayed in Exhibit 20.
A. I made an assumption that those pictures were taken because those wheels and tires we??ssociated with this vehicle. I have no personal knowledge on those at all.
Q. Have you received any information from the auto salvage shop, from any deposition, from any source whatsoever that explains what happened to the tires and wheels that were originally on the vehicle in question here?
Q. And what is your information about that?
A. Records I've reviewed show that three of them were sold.
Q. So, if three of them were sold, it would be pretty unlikely that the three of these in Exhibit 20 are three of the tires that were on the vehicle, wouldn't it?
A. Again, I have -- I can't tell you. All I know is that was supplied as evidence in this case, and I didn't even know who took the pictures.
Q. And you don't know whether, even if these are the tires and rims, whether they're in the same condition now as they were immediately after the accident; isn't that true?
A. No. ?? can say what I see is consistent with what I see in the photos.
Q. You have no way of testifying with any reasonable degree of certainty that what's displayed in Exhibit 20 is in the condition it was at the time immediately following the collision in 1997. Is that correct?
A. Well, again, I guess I don't understand your question. Generally speaking, there are three tire and wheels on this car that are inflated following the collision. Assuming that this is the vehicle in question, which I can't verify, and there's one tire that is not inflated, and those pictures are consistent with what the vehicle shows me.
I cannot relate those tires and wheels personally to this vehicle, as you have stated.
Q. You have no information that would allow you to relate them to the vehicle. Is that correct?
A. Only that they were taken by somebody and supplied to me as evidence in this case.
Q. And you have no information that allows you to affirm that they are in the same condition they were immediately following the collision in this case. Is that true?
A. Correct. I haven't measured tire pressures and things of that nature because I didn't see them.
Q. Hell, I mean, there was no examination that you're aware of done to any of the four rims in this case, was there?
A. Well, I don't know who took --
A. If Mr. Kelsey's technician took those or if Mr. Kelsey was there, they thought they had something to do with it, I assume. And I don't know if they took tire pressures, did wheel examination or what. All I know is that, based on the record, Mr. Kelsey didn't look, his technician did, but his technician didn't do a complete job.
Q. Did anybody review or look at the condition of the tires and rims in this case immediately following or shortly after the collision in December of 1997?
A. I don't know.
Q. Are you aware of anything that anybody did to make those measurements or do that analysis?
Q. Are you aware of anybody that did anything to inventory this truck immediately after or shortly after the collision in 1997?
Q. All right. Anything else with regards to this suspension component other than what you've told me?
A. Front, rear or both?
Q. Anything else.
A. We haven't talked about the photographs that show positively there's nothing wrong with the rear suspension.
Q. Okay. Why don't we do that now. I'll come back to that. I want to ask you what else you would look at.
You told me now you'd look at the tie rod separation, suspension component. What else would you look at if you assume that there was some type of manufactured part that failed that would result in loss of steering control in a vehicle of this type?
A. I don't believe we talked about what I'd look at. You asked me what would happen if certain things happened, and I told you hypothetically what would happen to this type of thing if, in theory, those things had happened, and I looked at those by virtue of examining the path of the vehicle and the damage to the vehicle.
A. That in and of itself tells you ?? nothing happened to this vehicle.
Q. Okay. I mean, is there anything else that you, to a reasonable degree of engineering certainty, believe should be evaluated to determine whether or not there was something that happened to cause steering failure, if you assume that there may have been some type of manufacturing defect that was such a cause?
MR. HENDERSON: Do you understand the question?
A. Again, I don't understand your question.
Q. Okay. Let's assume -- I'm asking you to assume that you've been asked to evaluate this vehicle and you get ahold of it and you're asked to tell us whether or not there was some type of manufacturing defect that occurred that could account for steering loss of control.
Q. What would you look at? I think you've told me tie rod separation, the suspension component. What else?
A. No, I didn't tell you that.
A. I told you I'm going to look at the evidence that's ??, and that's what we've got in front of us on this table. You've got my file, and I've told you that the whole thing was, in a nutshell, based on the performance of the vehicle that it was being steered.
Then you asked me hypothetically what would happen if a tie rod separated, and I told you. And I told you what would happen if it had an adverse effect, because, if a tie rod separated, it might not affect the control of the vehicle at all, and that's based on my experience in testing of the vehicles.
I have not tested or driven this Dodge with a tie rod separated.
Q. Okay. Let me ask the question, since apparently I'm miscoimmunicating. Assume that you're asked to look at a vehicle in all respects like this one after such an event and you're asked to consider that there may have been some failure to the steering component.
What is it you would look at to rule in or rule out the failure of a component to the steering system?
A. Just what I did in this case. I'd look at all the photos that are available. I'd look at the accident facts, and I would try to get a look at the vehicle. the vehicle components that are available and, based on ray engineering experience, tell you whether or not I could or could not make an engineering conclusion of what happened to this vehicle,
Q. What are the components you would look at?
A. What's available.
Q. I'm asking you what components would you, as an engineer, look at, assuming you had the whole truck to look at? What would you look at? I would like an inventory of all those things you would look at.
A. I'd look at all the control systems, sir.
Q. What control systems?
A. I'd look at the accelerator controls. I'd look at the steering controls, and I'd look at the suspension attachments. I'd check the brake system. I'd check the wheels and tires.
Q. So you gave me a list under control systems and you said steering, acceleration, suspension, brakes, and wheel and tire. Is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Anything else under control systems?
A. Ho. I think that covers it.
Q. Okay. Those would be all the systems that you would look at to try to evaluate whether or not a vehicle of this type could have had a failure in the steering system. Is that right?
A. Assuming that we're talking about accident causation yes.
Q. Well, I'm just asking you to tell me what parts of the vehicle, in all respects like this one, you would look at to try to rule in or rule out failure of the steering system or loss of control of steering as a cause of the collision.
A. Okay. And I just said that's accident causation, and I would do that.
Q. Okay. Let's start at the bottom. Wheel and tire, what would you look at at the wheels and tires?
A. Check the condition of the wheels and tires.
Q. And how would you do that?
Q. And what would you be looking for visually?
A. Primarily, if they're on the vehicle, I'd be looking for evidence that the tire deflated before the accident. I'd also be looking for unusual wear patterns on the tire, which would indicate that there was a possible alignment condition in the vehicle.
I'd be looking for flat ?? on the tire to indicate whether or not there was a brake application, because I might be there five years after the fact and skid marks would be gone.
Q. Okay. Anything else?
A. Well, I'd check, you know, in terras of whether the tires and wheels were all the same size.
Q. As opposed to a mismatch?
Q. Anything else?
A. That would be it.
Q. In this circumstance, there was no one who did or was able to evaluate the wheels for mismatch. Correct?
A. I don't know that.
Q. Are you aware of anybody that was --
Q. -- Did that or was able to do that?
A. I'm not aware of what people did to the vehicle before I saw it, except for the stuff I have in front of us.
Q. To your knowledge, no evaluation of mismatch occurred with regards to the tires shortly after the accident or before the car began to be cannibalized. Is that correct, sir?
A. I ?? know that.
Q. I'm asking you to your knowledge, sir. That's all.
A. Well, to my -- I don't know if the police officer went around and saw anything unusual or looked at the tires and wheels or not.
Q. Have you had any indication that he did that?
A. No, but I would expect he looked at the vehicle. How close he looked at the vehicle -- we know he didn't take photographs and so forth, but I'm sure he looked at the vehicle.
Q. Is there any documentation, any evidence, any testimony that reflects that that happened in this case?
A. Again, no, I haven't seen any. No.
Q. And with regard to flat spots on the tire, would you agree that nobody did any evaluation of the tires, when they were available for inspection, to look for flat spots on the tires?
A. Flat spots on the tires here would be irrelevant because I understand it was snowing and the guy was in four-wheel drive. So we are not going to have flat spots. You were asking me a general question. Now you're into specifics again.
Q. I'm asking if anybody did any evaluation looking for flat spots on tires that you're aware of.
Q. Okay. Would you agree that nobody did any looking of the tires to see if there was any unusual wear pattern?
A. No, but the photographs of the vehicle would indicate that there isn't anything that's going to cause a problem per se, based on what is on the vehicle, assuming, again, that this is the vehicle, which I don't know.
Q. Do you often give testimony about conditions of tires from photographs alone?
A. Yes, if that's all that's available, I do.
Q. And what tire photographs would you be looking at to render opinions in this case? The ones we've just talked about in Exhibit 20?
A. Basically my opinion is -- how do I want to say -- the left front wheel and tire in this particular instance, as it appears on the vehicle in the vehicle photographs, is consistent with my findings relative to this accident reconstruction and vehicle analysis.
Q. Okay. With regards to the brake system, are you aware of anybody looking at or evaluating anything having to do with the brake systems in the -- on this vehicle?
A. Only that the comment was made that there were no brake lights.
Q. Did anybody look at the vehicle to evaluate the brake system in any fashion?
A. Not that I know of.
Q. Okay. Is that something, in your opinion, that could have been evaluated at the time the photographs were taken in January of 1998?
Q. Is that something that could have been evaluated before the vehicle was removed to the auto parts location where you found its cannibalized remains?
A. Again, I don't know what's happened. It could have been done immediately following the accident.
Q. If there was no change -- if there was nothing done to the vehicle before it was removed to Fierge Auto Parts in Quincy, would you have been able to evaluate the brake system?
Q. And the evaluation of the brake system would have been to do what? What would you have been looking for?
A. In this instance, I wouldn't ?? paid much attention to the brake system.
Q. I understand, but please humor me. I'm just asking so I understand what it is you would look at in a general sense.
What would you look at in the brake system to try to determine whether or not the vehicle suffered a loss of control to the steering mechanism?
Q. Okay. What was it -- why do you say nothing now when I asked you earlier and you said --
A. Hell, because the brakes are not related to the steering system.
Q. Why would you look at the brake system then?
A. In this particular instance, I probably wouldn't spend much time. I might not even have evaluated the brakes.
Q. If the brakes had worked --
A. The brakes -- we're on slippery pavement. The brakes on this thing are only relative to what's the operator doing. If he had applied the brakes with any force at all, assuming four-wheel drive was required, he'd have just been sliding.
Q. How do you know we were in slippery conditions?
A. The operator said he was in four-wheel drive because it was slippery, and the police report says it was snowing and it was December, you know.
Q. Other than the fact that the police report reports it was snowing and it was December, do you have any indication of the condition of the road?