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Family of man who died after driving off collapsed bridge blame Google for his death

Family of man who died after driving off collapsed bridge blame Google for his death

The family of Philip Paxson, who drowned after driving off a collapsed bridge, say his death is due to Google not updating its maps.

The family of a man who died while following a route on Google Maps have blamed the company for his death.

Husband and father of two Philip Paxson died in September 2022 after attempting to drive over a damaged bridge in Hickory, North Carolina on his way home from his daughter’s ninth birthday party.

Paxson’s family are now suing Google over his death, alleging that the company's Maps app failed to show that the bridge had fallen nine years earlier.

Philip Paxson and his wife Alicia.
Family Handout

The case was filed in civil court in Wake County on Tuesday (19 September). The family say Google failed to update its maps which ultimately led to Paxson’s untimely death.

He decided to use Google Maps on his way home because he was driving in a neighbourhood he was unfamiliar with, according to the family’s lawsuit.

His wife had driven his two daughters home earlier while he stayed behind to help clean up after the birthday party.

"Unfamiliar with local roads, he relied on Google Maps, expecting it would safely direct him home to his wife and daughters," lawyers for the family said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

"Tragically, as he drove cautiously in the darkness and rain, he unsuspectingly followed Google's outdated directions to what his family later learned for nearly a decade was called the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' crashing into Snow Creek, where he drowned."

Local residents had repeatedly contacted Google to have their online maps updated after the bridge collapsed in 2013, the lawsuit claims.

Locals reportedly called for Google to update its maps after the bridge collapsed in 2013.
Family Handout

Barriers that were usually placed across the bridge entrance were nowhere to be found due to vandalism, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The lawsuit filed by Paxson’s family is also suing three local companies, arguing they had a duty to maintain the bridge.

In a statement, Alicia Paxson, Philip’s wife, said: “Our girls ask how and why their daddy died, and I'm at a loss for words they can understand because, as an adult, I still can't understand how those responsible for the GPS directions and the bridge could have acted with so little regard for human life.”

A spokesperson for Google released a statement via AP News that reads: “We have the deepest sympathies for the Paxson family.

“Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps and we are reviewing this lawsuit.”

UNILAD has contacted Google for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Family handout / Richard Baker / In Pictures via GETTY IMAGES

Topics: News, US News, Google, Google Maps