GPS Sends Dad Over Bridge, Family Left Devastated After Directions Fail to Mention One Thing

A GPS system along with local North Carolina government officials are in the crosshairs after a father of two girls was killed in a shocking car accident thanks to a myriad of failures that residents say should never have happened. Phil Paxson was driving home on a rainy Sept. 30 night after attending a birthday party for his nine-year-old daughter when a GPS direction caused him to crash and die, the Daily Mail reported. Paxson was following a GPS to get home when the system directed him to take a bridge near Hickory, North Carolina. But instead of crossing the river safely, Paxson’s car abruptly plunged more than 20 feet into the waters below because the bridge was no longer there. The span had been destroyed nearly a decade before — in 2013 — after a heavy storm ripped through the area, and the bridge was never replaced. Even worse, local officials never put up road “barriers or warning signs” to tell drivers that there was no bridge over the river. The road just ended in a cliff of jagged concrete and down into the water. Paxson’s wife is bereft. “How is it nine years that this did not happen, and why did it have to be him?” asked an incredulous Alicia Paxson, according to the Daily Mail. “Like, why do my kids have to have no dad now, you know? Who’s responsible? Somebody is responsible.” Paxson’s mother-in-law, Linda McPhoee Koenig, took to Facebook to vent her rage against those who should have updated the GPS and the government officials that should have closed off the road, the Mail reported. “It was a totally preventable accident,” Koenig wrote, adding, “He took a left, and I took a right, and that was his mistake. One wrong turn, and now he’s gone.” “Everybody loved him, he was the life of the party,” Alicia Paxson told WCNC-TV. “Always making jokes on people all the time and making people comfortable.” According to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, which responded to the incident, Paxson’s brand new Jeep Gladiator was found half submerged in the water and Paxson was discovered dead inside. The bridge was part of a private road, they said. Troopers also reported that the sign warning drivers that the bridge was out had been torn down at some point in the past. The only other notice about the road is a small sign several blocks from the bridge that reads, “state maintenance ends here” to tell drivers that the road ahead is not maintained by the state. For years, residents have complained about the dangerous road to county officials, but to no avail, WCNC said. State officials told the media that neither they, nor any local governments, were responsible for rebuilding the bridge because it was originally built by a private company, not the government. Apparently, the bridge was originally built by a developing company that had been dissolved back in 1994 and no longer exists. Consequently, there was no one connected with the original span left to repair it when the storm washed it away in 2013. Eric Andrews, the president of the Realtors Land Institute Carolinas chapter, told WCNC that this issue is more common than one might think in the Tar Heel state. The original builders of roads or bridges might go bankrupt or out of business for some reason, Andrews said. He added, “They might die. The company might not exist anymore. So you can’t have the expectation of some kind of developer or entity being responsible for that road in perpetuity.” Catawba County officials also told the news station that North Carolina’s various counties do not maintain roads at all. That is the state’s job. “In North Carolina, counties do not maintain roads,” the county officials said. “In general, owners of private roads associated with subdivisions could be the subdivision developers, a homeowners association or the property owners in the subdivision.” On top of that, the federal government also refused to jump in and provide funds to repair the bridge. Back in 2013, when it was first washed away, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry attempted to get the federal government to pay to replace the bridge, but his request was denied. [firefly_embed] [/firefly_embed] Phil leaves behind his wife and two young daughters, along with his parents and two sisters. “Phil put his family first and his friends, almost equal, second. He was larger than life, always ready for an adventure, with a permanent smile on his face, he would give you the shirt off his back or talk you out of the one on yours,” the family said in Phil’s obituary, the Daily Mail reported. So far, the family’s GoFundMe page says more than $30,000 has been raised of the $50,000 goal to help the Paxson family deal with this horrible and tragic loss. Tragic events happen all around us. For instance, in September a woman from the Bronx was shockingly impaled on a fence post and killed when an SUV ran into her as she walked home. In July, a judge issued a verdict putting at least part of the blame on Tesla for a 2018 incident where a pair of teens survived an accident in their Tesla but died when the batteries of the electric car caught fire and burned them to death. Also in July, jogger was run down by a car using Apple’s self-driving technology when the onboard computer failed to identify him as a moving object. It all just goes to show that life can be a dangerous proposition. From the minute you wake up in the morning, you don’t know what God has in store for you, but you need to have finely honed situational awareness of what is going on around you at all times. If you do, you just might be able to avoid a shocking end. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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