Saturday, July 13, 2024

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

In a tragic incident, Google is being accused by the family of a US man who drowned after driving off a collapsed bridge. The family is claiming that Google failed to update its maps, leading their loved one to his death. According to the lawsuit, Philip Paxson relied on Google Maps to safely direct him home after attending his daughter’s birthday party. However, he drove over a damaged bridge in Hickory, North Carolina, which had collapsed nine years earlier. The lawsuit also alleges that local residents had repeatedly contacted Google to update their maps after the bridge collapse in 2013. This incident raises questions about the responsibility of technology companies in ensuring the accuracy of their navigation systems.

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

This image is property of

Background Information

In September 2022, Philip Paxson tragically drowned after driving off a collapsed bridge in Hickory, North Carolina. His family is now claiming that Google is responsible for his death, alleging that the tech giant failed to update its maps to show that the bridge had fallen nine years earlier. According to the family’s lawsuit, Mr. Paxson was driving home from his daughter’s birthday party when the incident occurred. Unfamiliar with the local area, he relied on Google Maps to guide him safely back to his wife and daughters.

The Incident

On that fateful night, Mr. Paxson followed Google’s directions, navigating through darkness and rain. Unbeknownst to him, he was following outdated directions that led him to a bridge that had collapsed nearly a decade prior. The bridge, commonly known as the “Bridge to Nowhere,” had been reported to Google numerous times by local residents, yet the company failed to make the necessary updates to its maps.

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

This image is property of

The Lawsuit

In response to the tragic incident, the Paxson family has filed a lawsuit against Google, seeking accountability for the death of their loved one. The case was filed in civil court in Wake County, North Carolina, with the family’s lawyers arguing that Google’s negligence in updating its maps directly contributed to Mr. Paxson’s death. The lawsuit claims that Google had a duty to provide accurate routing information and failed to do so, leading Mr. Paxson to drive off the collapsed bridge.

Alleged Negligence by Google

Failure to Update Maps

The crux of the Paxson family’s argument against Google revolves around the company’s alleged failure to update its maps to reflect the collapsed bridge. Despite being made aware of the bridge’s condition by local residents, Google neglected to make the necessary updates, leading to the tragic incident that claimed Mr. Paxson’s life.

Misleading Directions

Google’s directions night not only failed to account for the collapsed bridge but also misled Mr. Paxson into thinking that he could safely drive across it. By providing outdated information, Google inadvertently contributed to the accident, leading Mr. Paxson down a path that ultimately resulted in his untimely death.

Lack of Warning

Another point of contention in the lawsuit is Google’s failure to provide any warning or indication that the bridge was unsafe. With the absence of any cautionary messages or alerts about the collapsed bridge, Mr. Paxson had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the directions he was following.

Ignoring Residents’ Complaints

The lawsuit also accuses Google of ignoring the numerous complaints made by local residents about the collapsed bridge. Despite these reports, Google failed to take action to update its maps and warn users about the potential dangers associated with the bridge’s condition. This alleged negligence underscores the company’s disregard for the safety of its users and the community at large.

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

This image is property of

Responsibility of Local Companies

Duty to Maintain the Bridge

In addition to holding Google accountable, the Paxson family’s lawsuit also targets three local companies that had a duty to maintain the bridge. These companies allegedly failed to fulfill their obligations, allowing the bridge to remain in a hazardous state that ultimately led to Mr. Paxson’s death. By including these local companies in the lawsuit, the family seeks to ensure that all parties responsible for the bridge’s condition are held accountable.

Missing Barriers

According to reports, barriers that were typically placed across the entrance of the bridge were missing due to vandalism. This absence of safety measures made it even more dangerous for unsuspecting motorists like Mr. Paxson, who were unaware of the bridge’s condition. The lawsuit argues that if these barriers had been in place, Mr. Paxson would have been alerted to the bridge’s state and could have avoided the tragic accident.

The Family’s Statement

In the wake of Philip Paxson’s death, his wife, Alicia Paxson, released a heartfelt statement expressing the family’s profound loss and frustration. She emphasized the devastating impact the incident has had on their two young daughters, who continue to ask difficult questions about their father’s death. Alicia Paxson also voiced her disbelief that those responsible for the GPS directions and the maintenance of the bridge could have shown such little regard for human life.

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

This image is property of

Google’s Response

Google responded to the lawsuit by expressing its deepest sympathies for the Paxson family. The company acknowledged the tragedy and assured that its goal is to provide accurate routing information in its maps. Google committed to reviewing the allegations made in the lawsuit, suggesting a willingness to take responsibility for any shortcomings and improve their mapping system to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Impact on the Family

Loss and Grief

The loss of a loved one under such tragic circumstances has left the Paxson family devastated and grieving. The sudden and unexpected nature of Philip Paxson’s death has created a void that can never be filled. The emotional toll on his wife and two young daughters is immeasurable, as they navigate life without a beloved husband and father by their side.

Questions and Uncertainty

The incident has also left the family with numerous unanswered questions and a sense of uncertainty about the future. They are grappling with the unimaginable loss while trying to understand how such a preventable tragedy occurred. The lack of accountability and responsibility from both Google and the local companies involved adds an additional layer of frustration and confusion.

Google accused of directing motorist to drive off collapsed bridge

This image is property of

Google’s Goal

In response to the lawsuit, Google has reiterated its commitment to providing accurate routing information in its maps. The company recognizes the importance of continually updating its maps to ensure user safety and prevent incidents like the one that claimed Philip Paxson’s life. By reviewing the allegations and taking necessary steps to improve their mapping system, Google aims to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.


The tragic incident that led to Philip Paxson’s death has sparked a legal battle between his family and Google. The family’s lawsuit alleges that Google’s failure to update its maps and provide accurate information directly contributed to the incident. Additionally, the family has called out the local companies responsible for maintaining the collapsed bridge for their negligence. The impact on the Paxson family has been immense, leaving them with grief, loss, and unanswered questions. Google’s response demonstrates a willingness to address the allegations and improve its mapping system, with the goal of preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future. As the legal proceedings unfold, the case serves as a reminder of the importance of accurate and up-to-date information in navigation applications and the need for ongoing maintenance of critical infrastructure.