The family of Philip Paxson, who tragically drowned after driving off a collapsed bridge in Hickory, North Carolina, is suing Google, alleging that the tech giant negligently failed to update its maps to show the bridge collapse. The incident occurred in September 2022, and Paxson was in an unfamiliar area at the time, relying on Google Maps for navigation.

According to the lawsuit filed in Wake County civil court, local residents had notified Google about the bridge collapse in 2013, nine years before Paxson’s death. Despite repeated requests, Google did not update its maps to reflect the bridge’s condition.

On the night of his death, barriers that would typically block access to the bridge were missing due to vandalism. Paxson, following Google’s outdated directions, unknowingly drove onto the damaged bridge and into Snow Creek, where he tragically drowned.

The lawsuit not only targets Google but also three local companies, claiming they had a duty to maintain the bridge. Paxson’s wife, Alicia Paxson, expressed her grief, stating, “Our girls ask how and why their daddy died, and I’m at a loss for words they can understand because, as an adult, I still can’t understand how those responsible for the GPS directions and the bridge could have acted with so little regard for human life.”

Google has stated that it is reviewing the allegations, emphasising its goal to provide accurate routing information in Google Maps.