"Isn't a pickup more likely to fishtail?" Barnes asked.

Miller, who said he has driven pickups, replied that an "outward force" would still have to be applied to cause fishtailing.

Isn't it true, Barnes then asked Miller, that in wet or icy conditions, pickup owners often "put weight in the back [bed] for better control?"

"Yes," Miller replied, explaining that "improved handling" will result from "more weight on the rear axle."


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Barnes also spent time questioning Miller about the differences among rear-wheel, front-wheel and all-wheel drive, although Miller said he had no knowledge if the Mazda was equipped with anything other than rear-wheel drive.

With regard to road conditions, Miller also conceded under Barnes' questioning that he could only rely on the accident and other reports provided to him by the state to make his determination that there were no serious roadway defects.

Miller also said he was unaware, until they were introduced into evidence by Barnes while Miller sat in court the previous days, that the Maryland Transportation Authority had produced engineering reports during several years leading to the crash that detailed problems with the roadway and recommended installation of a center barrier.

"Are you totally unaware of it [the recommendation]? Barnes asked.

As Miller answered the recommendation had nothing to do with the accident, Barnes directed him back to his personal awareness about it.

"At the time I wrote my report, I wasn't aware that [the recommendation] existed," he replied.

Engineers testifying

Friday's testimony concluded with an appearance by Keith A. Duerling, a former director of engineering for MDTA, who was called as a plaintiffs' witness.

Duerling, who retired in 2008, testified he was the agency's chief engineer at the time of the accident and during the early years of the lawsuit, which was filed in 2004, when Duerling was in charge of gathering material requested by the plaintiffs' during the case's discovery phase.

Barnes said he also intends to call Duerling's predecessor who was engineering chief when two earlier serious accidents, one fatal, occurred on the bridge that prompted a citizen to ask then-Harford County Executive Jim Harkins to request that MDTA install a median barrier.

Harkins, who testified on the trial's first day, confirmed he wrote a letter in 2000 requesting that MDTA study the feasibility of erecting such a barrier.

Pace said Friday the state had not scheduled any other defense witnesses besides Miller.