Family of man killed after following map app directions sues Google

A North Carolina family is suing tech giant Google after they said a father of two died after following directions provided by Google Maps, plunging off a collapsed bridge.

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WSOC reported that the bridge that Phil Paxson drove over on September 30, 2022, had collapsed nine years before his death, but the app was never updated, the family claims.

Paxson’s family said the company had been told the bridge was not there, but that it failed to update the program.

Paxson drowned when his Jeep Gladiator went off the bridge and into Snow Creek in Hickory, North Carolina. He was driving home after his daughter’s birthday party, according to the lawsuit that was filed this week.

Paxson’s wife, Alicia Paxson, said she took a different car and turned right while her husband turned left, The Washington Post reported.

State police said there were no barriers or warning signs, adding that Phil Paxson drove off the edge and crashed 20 feet below. The Jeep came to rest upside down and partially submerged.

The lawsuit said there was no lighting on the bridge, that it was “pitch black at 11 p.m.” and raining, the newspaper reported.

The bridge was not cared for by either local or state governments and the developer of the road had dissolved. Several private property management companies along with Google are among the defendants in the lawsuit.

A resident of the town had used “suggest an edit” on the map to alert Google in September 2020, and two months later Google had sent an email that it had received the report and was reviewing it. But the lawsuit alleges that nothing happened after that.

The lawsuit alleges negligence, saying that the bridge collapsed in 2013, The Washington Post reported. The community called it the “Bridge to Nowhere” with Alicia Paxson saying it looked like it “just has a pothole in it.”

“We have the deepest sympathies for the Paxson family,” Google told the WSOC. “Our goal is to provide accurate routing information in Maps and we are reviewing this lawsuit.”

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