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A man crashed into the water and died after his GPS guided him towards a bridge that was destroyed in 2013 in Hickory, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 30.

Phil Paxson, 47, father of two daughters, was heading home after his daughter's ninth birthday party celebration and was using the GPS to find his way back home. However, the GPS led him down a concrete road to a bridge that did not exist and Paxson's Jeep went over the concrete road, plunging into the water. The bridge had been destroyed 9 years ago and was never repaired, People reported.

Officers from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol rushed to the scene after they were alerted about a car in a creek on the morning of Oct. 1. When the officers arrived, they found Paxson's 2020 Jeep Gladiator overturned and partially submerged in the water. Following this, Phil's body was recovered from inside the vehicle.

The bridge, located at 24th Street Place NE in Hickory, washed away 9 years ago in July 2013 due to flooding.

According to Paxson's mother-in-law Linda McPhoee Koeing, the bridge also didn't have any barriers or warning signs. Officers revealed that barricades were previously put in place to prevent drivers from crossing the bridge. However, later, the barricades were removed after they were vandalized, the Charlotte Observer reported.

"He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. It was a totally preventable accident. We are grieving his death," Koeing wrote in a post shared on Facebook on Oct. 3.

Paxson's widow, Alicia Paxson, shared photos of the bridge on her own Facebook page. She pointed out that her husband's death was "an avoidable tragedy" and also shared articles that date back to 2014 about families urging the bridge to be fixed.

"This was a known hazard. 2014!! Just an accident waiting to happen. Phil had to lose his life to bring awareness," she continued in her Facebook post.

"It could have been them. It could have been the girls. Usually, they all drive together, and thank God that night they were not," one family friend said.

Paxson leaves behind his wife and their two daughters, as well as his parents, two sisters, a sister-in-law, and a host of nieces and nephews.

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