Family: GPS Led Man to Fatal 'Bridge to Nowhere'

Philip Paxson of North Carolina drove off abandoned span on private road
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2022 6:10 AM CDT
Family: GPS Led Man to Fatal Bridge Plunge
Stock image.   (Getty/spukkato)

The family of a North Carolina father of two say he died after following his GPS at night onto a bridge that partially washed away almost a decade ago. The body of Philip Paxson, 47, was found in his overturned vehicle in a creek on Oct. 1, the morning after he failed to return home from his daughter's birthday party, reports WCNC. "He was following his GPS which led him down a concrete road to a bridge that dropped off into a river," wrote mother-in-law Linda McPhoee Koeing, per People. "The bridge had been destroyed 9 years ago and never repaired."

As Today notes, the rural road Paxson turned onto after 11pm is a private one that is not maintained by the state or the county. The road in Hickory appears on GPS directions, even though it leads to a bridge that washed away and was never fixed. Police say barriers to prevent people from continuing down the road were removed for reasons that remain unclear. "He took a left, and that left went to that bridge to nowhere, which is what they called it since 2013 when that bridge washed away and no one took responsibility to get that bridge fixed," sister-in-law Kayla Bubar tells WCNC.

Paxson had been at a birthday party for one of his children earlier that night, and his wife drove home ahead of him with their kids. Paxson stayed behind to clean up and never returned home. A friend out searching the next day came across his vehicle in the water. It remains murky just who is responsible for the road at this point, notes People. A real estate development company that once was involved in the upkeep has since dissolved. (More North Carolina stories.)

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