North Carolina father dies after driving on ‘bridge to nowhere’


A father of two children in North Carolina has died after crossing a bridge that was destroyed almost a decade ago in what his family called an “avoidable tragedy.”

Philip Paxson, 47, was driving his car in Hickory, North Carolina on September 30 when he crossed a bridge. At approximately 9:45 am on Oct. 1, authorities and emergency responders arrived at the scene to find a 2020 Jeep Gladiator “upside down and partially submerged in a stream in an area where the road was swept away.” According to a news release shared with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, TODAY.

According to NCDPS, Paxson was found dead in his car and officials believe the accident occurred shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Sept. 30.

Paxson's 2020 Jeep Gladiator near the bridge.  (WCNC)

Paxson’s 2020 Jeep Gladiator near the bridge. (WCNC)

The Trooper told an NBC affiliate WCNC The barrier that warned drivers that the bridge ahead had collapsed had apparently been moved.

Paxson’s widow, Alicia Paxson, declined to comment immediately to TODAY. wrote in a Facebook post She said she wanted to raise awareness that “this is a tragedy that could have been avoided.”

“This was a known hazard. 2014!! Just an accident waiting to happen. Phil had to take his life to raise awareness,” she said in the post.

Kayla Boubaal, Paxson’s sister-in-law, told WCNC: “He turned left and that left went nowhere on the bridge. In 2013 the bridge was washed away and That’s what they called it ever since no one took responsibility for repairing it.”

The WCNC reports that officials have been trying to get federal and state funding to repair the road since 2013.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (RN.C.) told WCNC that his office had tried to get funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair the bridge in 2013 and 2016, but the bridge was closed. said it was not eligible because it is on the driveway. Financing.

FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TODAY seeking to confirm McHenry’s public safety case.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation told WCNC it had no authority to improve the road because it is a private road, and Catawba County also said no county in North Carolina maintained the road.

President Eric Andrews National Realtor Land Association Carolina Chaptertold WCNC that locals could petition the state transportation department to take over maintenance of the road.

“Phil didn’t deserve such a death and it’s terrifying to go through it. His children are now fatherless,” Boubert told WCNC. “We’re not going to let it go and find out who’s responsible.”

Bubar created a GoFundMe for funeral expenses, reaching more than half of her goal of $50,000. Paxson is survived by his wife and two daughters, two sisters, a sister-in-law, and many nieces and nephews, according to the BBC. his obituary.

“This precious family has lost a wonderful father, husband, son and son-in-law,” the obituary read. There was a constant smile on his face, and he either handed you his shirt over his back or spoke to you from your shirt.”

This article was originally published on