The death of a Baton Rouge man has been traced to an air bag rupturing in his 2004 Honda Civic during a July crash, a fault that Honda has admitted and is now using as a reminder in its extensive air bag recall campaign.
Baton Rouge native George Sharp died after a July 10 car crash in his Honda Civic on Jefferson Highway that occurred about 400 feet east of Drusilla Lane, according to the Baton Rouge Police Department. Sharp's blunt force trauma injuries were consistent with an exploding air bag, East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said Wednesday.
It has taken the past five months for Honda to complete its investigation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into the death. Honda has released a statement saying that the inflator of the Civic's Takata air bag ruptured during the crash.
Airbag inflators are metal canisters with explosive chemicals inside that cause airbags to inflate during car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The problem with the Takata airbags installed in some Honda and Acura vehicles is that the chemicals in the inflators are burning too quickly and too forcefully, causing the canister to break into pieces of shrapnel that spray occupants in a vehicle.
"To many occupants who have experienced the explosion of a defective Takata airbag inflator, it is as if a bomb detonated in their vehicle," according to a Nov. 15 NHTSA report called "The State of the Takata recalls."
More than 46 million Takata airbag inflators are defective and under recall. At least 13 people, along with Sharp, have died in the United States from the defective Takata airbag inflators, according to the recent report.
Honda said the air bag module in Sharp's 2004 Civic had been originally installed in a 2002 vehicle of the same make and model. They believe the air bag module was salvaged and reinstalled into the 2004 Civic that Sharp was driving the night the air bag exploded.
Honda workers are searching salvage yards nationwide to find airbag inflators that have been recalled and might otherwise be installed into vehicles, according to the company.
Sharp was 60 years old, graduated from Broadmoor High School in 1974 and spent 35 years in the automotive repair business, according to his obituary that ran in The Advocate. He was known for his love of his family, fishing, hunting and spending time with his dog, Jack, "whom he took everywhere," the obituary said.
Recently, Patricia Manchester, of Baton Rouge, was involved in a serious crash on Interstate 10 in New Orleans, where her car was totaled. Tha…
Jack, his dog, was in the Honda Civic with Sharp the night that he crashed, according to police, but Jack survived. Sharp suffered an open fracture of his larynx, according to Clark. He said Sharp spent some time in the hospital fighting his injuries before he died.
Sharp's family members did not immediately return messages for comments on Wednesday.
Sharp's Honda Civic was one of many vehicles under recall from the company because of known problems with the Takata air bag's inflator. Honda said it sent multiple recall notices for free repairs to registered owners of its vehicles beginning in 2014 and that its records indicate that Sharp's 2004 Honda Civic never received the repair.
Owners of Honda and Acura vehicles can check whether their vehicles fall under the recall and need repairs online at recalls.honda.com and recalls.acura.com. Honda said older vehicles, especially those from 2001 to 2003, present the biggest safety risk and have an increased risk of their air bag infiltrators rupturing, which is what happened in Sharp's vehicle.
Athina Carter spent more than a month thinking the man who plowed into her car one night in the 7th Ward, killing her friend and leaving her d…