RALEIGH, N.C. – The household of a North Carolina man who died after driving his automobile off a collapsed bridge whereas following Google Maps instructions is suing the expertise large for negligence, claiming it had been knowledgeable of the collapse however did not replace its navigation system.

Philip Paxson, a medical system salesman and father of two, drowned Sept. 30, 2022, after his Jeep Gladiator plunged into Snow Creek in Hickory, based on a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Wake County Superior Courtroom. Paxson was driving residence from his daughter’s ninth birthday celebration by means of an unfamiliar neighborhood when Google Maps allegedly directed him to cross a bridge that had collapsed 9 years prior and was by no means repaired.

“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,” his wife, Alicia Paxson, said in a news release.

State troopers who found Paxton’s body in his overturned and partially submerged truck had said there were no barriers or warning signs along the washed-out roadway. He had driven off an unguarded edge and crashed about 20 feet below, according to the lawsuit.

The North Carolina State Patrol had said the bridge was not maintained by local or state officials, and the original developer’s company had dissolved. The lawsuit names several private property management companies that it claims are responsible for the bridge and the adjoining land.

Multiple people had notified Google Maps about the collapse in the years leading up to Paxson’s death and had urged the company to update its route information, according to the lawsuit.

The Tuesday court filing includes email records from another Hickory resident who had used the map’s “suggest and edit” characteristic in September 2020 to alert the corporate that it was directing drivers over the collapsed bridge. A November 2020 e mail affirmation from Google confirms the corporate obtained her report and was reviewing the urged change, however the lawsuit claims Google took no additional actions.

A spokesperson for Google, which is headquartered in California but maintains a registered office in Raleigh, did not immediately provide comment on the lawsuit.


Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.

Copyright 2023 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed with out permission.