In a shocking turn of events, a grieving family from North Carolina is taking on tech behemoth Google, accusing the company of negligence that led to the tragic death of a beloved father and husband. The family alleges that Google’s outdated Maps application directed the man to drive over a bridge that had collapsed nearly a decade ago, resulting in his untimely demise.
Philip Paxson, a 47-year-old father of two, was returning home from his daughter’s birthday party when he met his tragic end. Unfamiliar with the area of Hickory, he relied on Google Maps for navigation. However, the app guided him onto a collapsed bridge, causing his vehicle to plunge about 20 feet below into a ravine. The North Carolina State Patrol confirmed that the bridge was not maintained by local or state officials, and the original developer’s company had dissolved.
Interesting…Family blames Google Maps for directing Philip Paxson to drive across a collapsed bridge, resulting in his tragic death. pic.twitter.com/eWJMxd1xXR
— Peché Africa 🇿🇦 (@pmcafrica) September 21, 2023
The lawsuit filed by the Paxson family in Wake County reveals that multiple people had notified Google Maps about the bridge’s collapse in the years leading up to Paxson’s death. They urged the company to update its route information. Despite receiving these alerts, Google allegedly took no further action to rectify the error. This negligence, the family argues, directly contributed to Paxson’s fatal accident.
The lawsuit also names Hickory businessman James Tarlton and companies Tarde LLC and Hinckley Gauvain LLC as the owners of the bridge and the surrounding land. These entities are accused of failing to repair the damaged bridge and not providing adequate lighting to prevent such accidents.
A North Carolina family is suing Google after Google Maps navigated their father to his death across a collapsed bridge. pic.twitter.com/omRAS7kgKG
— Brut America (@brutamerica) September 21, 2023
Alicia Paxson, the widow of the deceased, expressed her disbelief and grief at a press conference. She questioned how such an incident could occur after nine years of the bridge’s collapse and why it had to be her husband who paid the price. The couple’s daughters are left grappling with the loss of their father, struggling to understand the circumstances of his death.
Philip Paxson is remembered as a loving father, devoted husband, and a friend to many. He was known for his love for adventure and his passion for anything with a motor. At the time of his death, he worked as a medical device salesman.
Google, in response to the lawsuit, expressed its deepest sympathies for the Paxson family. A spokesperson stated that the company aims to provide accurate routing information in Maps and is currently reviewing the lawsuit.
This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of technological negligence. As we increasingly rely on digital tools for everyday tasks, it is crucial that tech companies prioritize user safety and regularly update their systems to prevent such devastating incidents. The Paxson family’s lawsuit against Google underscores the need for accountability in the tech industry, a call that resonates with many who have experienced the negative impacts of technological errors.