North Carolina Man Dies After GPS Leads Him Off Edge of Bridge That Washed Away Years Ago

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

A North Carolina family is facing a devastating tragedy after a GPS misroutes a man to a bridge that washed away years ago. This was a miscalculation that ended up sending the husband and father of two young children off the washed-out bridge.

A family is mourning after an “avoidable tragedy” ends as a North Carolina man dies when the GPS routes him over the bridge that has been out of commission for nearly a decade.

Alicia Paxson watched her husband, Phil Paxson get into his vehicle after their daughter’s ninth birthday party just a few days ago. However, she had no idea this would be the last time she would see her husband alive. On September 30, Phil Paxson was heading home in Hickory, North Carolina on a “dark and rainy” evening the man’s mother-in-law, Linda McPhoee Koeing notes.

“He was following his GPS which led him down a concrete road to a bridge that dropped off into a river,” Koening says of the tragedy.

“The bridge had been destroyed 9 years ago and never repaired,” she continues.

Koeing adds that the washed-out bridge posed a deadly threat. She adds that the bridge did not have any “barriers or warning signs to prevent the death of a 47-year-old father of two daughters.”

“He will be greatly missed by his family and friends,” she adds of her son-in-law.

“It was a totally preventable accident,” Koening continues. “We are grieving his death.”

Officials Note Barricades Had Once Been Present At The Bridge

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol notes that officials came upon the vehicle in the creek on the morning of October 1. When officers arrived, they discovered Paxson’s 2020 Jeep Gladiator was upside down and submerged in the water.

Officials have also noted that barricades warning drivers of the washed-out bridge had been present. However, these barriers were no longer present at the time of Paxson’s accident. Officials believe that the accident happened sometime around 11 p.m. on Friday, September 30.

Family Speaks Out About “Avoidable Tragedy” After Man Dies Following GPS Route Taking Him To A Washed-Out Bridge

Paxson’s widow shared photos of the broken bridge on her Facebook page, noting that her husband’s tragic death was “an avoidable tragedy.”

Additionally, Paxson goes on to share several articles about the washed-out bridge from nearly a decade ago. These articles are detailing several instances where area residents pleaded for the bridge to be repaired.

“This was a known hazard. 2014!!” Alicia Paxson says in her post.

“Just an accident waiting to happen,” she continues of the broken bridge. “Phil had to lose his life to bring awareness.”

In a later statement, Paxson wonders how this hazard was allowed to remain for so long. “Why did it have to be him,” Paxson says of her husband’s tragic death.

“Like, why do my kids have to have no dad now, you know?” she asks.

“Who’s responsible? Somebody is responsible,” Paxson says. “One wrong turn, and now he’s gone.”