AKRON (June 25, 2013) — Tire industry veteran Peter McDonald, widely known for his work in tire forensics — including crime-scene examinations of tire tread tracks — died June 21 at age 83.
Mr. McDonald had a 28-year career as director of tire design for the former Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron. His career passion was tire forensics, which led him to work as an expert witness for both prosecution and defense and, along the way, produced his book Tire Imprint Evidence.
In one famous case he evaluated using his forensics expertise, Mr. McDonald concluded that there were more conspirators in the truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, that killed 168 people. He reached that deduction after looking through FBI photographs of tire tracks at two Oklahoma sites where authorities believe the conspiracy took place.
Timothy McVeigh and co-conspirator and associate Terry Nichols were convicted of the act of domestic terrorism. Subsequently, Mr. McVeigh was executed by the federal government and Mr. Nichols is serving a life sentence.
In late 1998 the tire footprint expert presented to the University of Akron some of his paintings of tire-related murder cases in which his expertise put killers behind bars.
Mr. McDonald is survived by wife Linda Sanders McDonald (Fulghum); children Macie Jordan and Andy McDonald; stepson Brad Sanders (Sharon); grandchildren Mitch and Bridget Jordan, Madison, Lucy and Chloe Sanders; sibling Brownie (Mary Ellen) Baker.
He is preceded in death by stepson Todd Sanders; brother Edward Dixon McDonald Jr.; and parents Edward Dixon and Mary McDonald.
The family suggested donations may be made to Crossroads Hospice, 3743 Boettler Oaks Drive, Suite E, Green, Ohio 44685 or The Linda and Peter McDonald Fund at Akron Community Foundation, 345 West Cedar Street, Akron, Ohio 44307.