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Sunday 23 June, 2024
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Philip Paxson dead after following GPS to destroyed bridge

BY Anas Shah Oct 09, 2022. 12:57 pm UPDATED: Oct 09, 2022. 12:57 pm

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On September 30, a man from North Carolina lost his life after his GPS directed him to an abandoned bridge that had collapsed into a creek.

Philip Paxson, a 47-year-old father of two children, was returning from his oldest daughter’s birthday party in Hickory in his Jeep at night when his GPS sent him to a bridge that had been wrecked by significant floods in July 2013 and has since been rendered inoperable.

“It was a dark and rainy night and he was following his GPS which led him down a concrete road to a bridge that dropped off into a river,” Paxson’s mother-in-law, Linda McPhee Koenig, said in a Tuesday Facebook post. “The bridge had been destroyed [nine] years ago and never repaired. It lacked any barriers or warning signs to prevent the death of a 47 year old [sic] father of two daughters. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. It was a totally preventable accident. We are grieving his death.”

Philip Paxson Family

Now that the tragedy has occurred, Paxson’s family is attempting to draw attention to it. They think that it might have been prevented with simple city signage and barricades advising motorists not to approach the bridge or even with adequate upkeep.

“This was a preventable accident, the bridge he went over at night had a gaping hole and their were no barricades,” a GoFundMe page titled, “Paxson family,” states. “It had been this way for many years. No one would take responsibility to repair it and now he has to pay the price. Please pray for our family during this most difficult time.”

According to WCNC, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol was called to a complaint of a car in a creek close to a private road in Catawba County called 24th Street Place Northeast.

“He didn’t fall off a bridge. He didn’t drive off a bridge,” a loved one at the site of the accident, where locals have established a makeshift memorial, told the outlet. “He drove to his death through that 20 [foot] ravine.”

Eight months after the bridge was destroyed by flooding in 2013, according to a 2014 Hickory Record article titled “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE: No resolution in sight for neighborhood’s gaping hole,” “the bridge is still in decay.” In the nine years, nothing had changed.

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According to WCNC, even the barricades that had earlier advised motorists not to cross the bridge had been swept away.

The road was associated with the subdividers Keener, Shook, and Tarlton, a partnership that broke up in 1994, according to a deed obtained by WNCN.

An obituary for Paxson states that he “had a lifelong affection for muscle cars, motorcycles, dirt bikes, boats, really anything with a motor.”

“He traveled the world with his father-in-law riding motorcycles. He and his wife along with their two daughters enjoyed camping and boating with family and friends. Phil put his family first and his friends, almost equal, second,” the obituary states. “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.”

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