Widow Sues Google Over GPS Route That Sent Husband Off Collapsed Bridge

Widow Sues Google Over GPS Route That Sent Husband Off Collapsed Bridge

Screenshot: WSOC

A woman in North Carolina is suing Google after her husband drove a Jeep off of a collapsed bridge and drowned in a creek last year. Her attorney claims the man was following Google Maps in the dark when the fatal crash took place. Drivers have grown reliant on GPS-based mapping services for navigation, but federal regulators have warned providers over the dangerous inaccuracies in their tools.

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In September 2022, Philip Paxson was driving home from a birthday party for his nine-year-old daughter after 11:00 p.m. in Hickory, North Carolina. His wife Alicia Paxson had left with their kids earlier, but Philip never came home. WSOC reported that the North Carolina State Highway Patrol found his 2020 Jeep Gladiator overturned in a creek at 9:45 a.m. the next morning. The 47-year-old had driven off a washed-out bridge and drowned.

The bridge was destroyed in a flood several years prior. The police stated that the road isn’t maintained by North Carolina and is physically outside of Hickory’s city limits. Alicia has now filed a civil suit against Google and other dependants responsible for the bridge. Bob Zimmerman, the Paxtons’ attorney, claims that nothing was done to repair the bridge or remove it from Google Maps. Zimmerman told WSOC, “Phil had no idea that for nine years, there was a 20-foot canyon in the middle of the road, in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”

The bridge has now been removed from Google Maps, but irreparable damage that could have been avoided has already been done. With homes in the immediate vicinity and the road marked in the app, there was little reason to believe it wasn’t there during the nighttime drive.

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