(Image: AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Over the past 18 months, a coroner’s court has been grappling with a true suburban mystery: how could the driver of a Honda CR-V have bled to death in the front seat of his car after nothing more than a minor bingle in a quiet street in outer Sydney?

Normally the driver would have simply walked away, but in this case the man, 58-year-old Huy Neng Ngo, received the equivalent of a shotgun wound through the base of his neck. 

A Takata airbag which was meant to save his life instead exploded on impact from the centre of his steering wheel, shooting a metal fragment the size of a 50 cent piece into his spine, shattering his vertebrae and causing blood to gush uncontrollably from a severed artery as Ngo’s wife made frantic attempts to staunch the bleeding using her bare hands.