the position of the lap belt after the accident, Froggett, testified that the lap belt was still in place. See note 2, supra.
Defendants’ expert, Harry Smith, who holds both a Ph.D. in engineering and an M.D., confirmed that the lap belt had remained buckled. NR 47:Tab 3 at 5-6. Smith explained that the accident, during which the vehicle rolled over “three or four” times, was of “sufficiently high energy” that “if Mr. Clark had not been properly restrained with both lap belt and shoulder harness he would have fared the same ejection outcome as his passengers who were not restrained (Brogdon) or only shoulder harness restrained (Borders).” Id. at 6. Smith also noted that if the lap belt had released, Clark would not have retained a relatively normal driving position after the car came to a stop. Ibid.
(Clark’s “final position at rest in the driver’s seat is inconsistent with
Because Clark was not ejected from the car and retained
just shoulder belt a normal driving
position, Smith concluded that the lap belt did not unbuckle.
Smith also opined that Clark’s injuries were fully consistent with the lap belt remaining buckled throughout the accident. He explained:
Although restrained by both lap and shoulder belts throughout the accident sequence, Mr. Clark impacted the side roof rail with the top of his head above and lateral to his seated position most likely during the first roll of the accident sequence. In this position his body continued loading his neck and through the magnitude and direction of the forces at this moment in the accident, Mr. Clark incurred a C6-C7 fracture subluxation and subsequent spinal cord injury as a result.
NR 47:Tab 3 at 6.
Smith based this conclusion, among other things, on three
“[s]urrogate driver and exemplar vehicle” analyses he conducted in August, 1997, involving a Honda Accord similar to the accident vehicle and one involving a Volvo
Ibid. Two of these after being drained of
three tests were “spit analyses” fluids, were mounted on a device
in which the Honda and resembling an enormous
“rotisserie spit” would allow an
and then rotated to determine individual who was seated in
whether the the driver’s
fastened lap and shoulder belts seat (of the same approximate