North Carolina man dies after driving off washed-out bridge

A Navy veteran and father of two was laid to rest Saturday after his vehicle fell into a creek as he drove on a bridge that was in disrepair and previously blocked off, according to North Carolina troopers.

Before his death, Phillip Paxson, 47, was heading home from his daughter’s 9th birthday party in Hickory, North Carolina, about an hour northwest of Charlotte, on a “dark and rainy night,” his mother-in-law Linda McPhee Koeing posted on Facebook.

“The bridge had been destroyed … years ago and never repaired,” she wrote in the Oct. 3 post.

The bridge is located on an unmaintained private road near a sign that says “state maintenance ends here,” local news station WCNC reported.

The crash took place about 11 p.m. on Sept. 30 in Catawba County, North Carolina State Highway Patrol Master Trooper Jeffrey Swagger told USA TODAY.

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