AKRONTire industry veteran Peter McDonald, widely known for his work in tire forensicsincluding crime-scene examinations of tire tread tracksdied 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, 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 his co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, were convicted of the act of domestic terrorism. Subsequently, Mr. Mc-Veigh was executed by the federal government and Mr. Nichols is serving a life sentence.
In a 1998 interview with Tire Business, Mr. McDonald said tire tracks in an FBI photo not only showed Mr. Nichols' pickup was present at a site at the same time as the rental truck used in the bombing, but also indicated the presence of at least one other unknown vehicle whose tracks differed from those of the McVeigh and Nichols vehicles.
He appeared periodically on true-crime-type TV shows as a tire tread expert. During his career Mr. McDonald taught tire forensics to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Mr. McDonald held six utility and design patents. He also was an artist and several years ago he mounted an exhibit of his paintings based on tire forensic cases on which he had investigated.
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; and sibling Brownie (Mary Ellen) Baker.
He is preceded in death by stepson Todd Sanders and brother Edward.