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Fatal Crash In Which Vehicle Went Off Bridge With No Barriers Under Investigation (Updated with name of deceased, more information)

On Saturday, (October 1) at approximately 9:45 a.m., the NC State Highway Patrol in Catawba County responded to the report of a vehicle in a creek in the area of 24th Street Place Northeast. Troopers and other emergency responders arrived and observed a 2020 Jeep Gladiator upside down and partially submerged in a creek in an area where the roadway had washed out.

The driver of the Jeep, 47-year-old Philip John Paxson of Hickory, was found to be deceased inside the vehicle. Troopers believe the collision occurred shortly after 11:00 p.m. on Friday, September 30.

According to information obtained by investigating troopers, 24th Street Place Northeast is not a roadway maintained by the NC Department of Transportation. Purportedly, that portion of the roadway collapsed several years ago when a culvert washed away. A bridge is out with no barriers declaring the section of roadway to be closed. Previous barricades apparently and reportedly had been vandalized and removed.

[WACB’s Rick Gilbert contributed to this story]