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Google Maps mistake leaves dozens of families stranded in the desert

By Web Staff

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    LAS VEGAS (KCAL) — When you put an address into Google Maps, you trust that it will give you the fastest route. However, for dozens of families trying to make it home from Las Vegas, it redirected them to the middle of nowhere.

It happened a little over a week ago, when Shelby Easler and a number of other drivers were led down a dreadful dirt path during a dust storm in the Mojave Desert.

“Literally, it was leading us nowhere,” said Easler. “We went nowhere and then we just ended up getting lost. This is a screengrab I took a phone of Apple Maps and they’re like: ‘Where are you?”

The alternate route was supposed to shave off 50 minutes from their already 5.5-hour drive.

“We thought we were avoiding a dust storm,” she said. “We thought it’d be a little bit safer because of visibility reasons and ironically, that is not what happened.”

The path only allowed the drivers to reach less than 10 mph. They stayed on it for hours until another driver approached them with some bad news.

“He’s like ‘This path leads nowhere. It washes out. Doesn’t exist anymore. Like, you have to turn around,” Easler recalled.

She and her family tried to complete a seven-point turn to veer from the road. After hitting a cactus, bush and rock, they finally turned around but faced almost 100 cars trying to get out.

They tried to call for help but the California Patrol was busy helping with collisions for the dust storm.

Easler returned home 14 hours later since she backtracked to the airport. However, her brother had to leave the now-undrivable car behind.

“The back right tire came off,” she said. “The alignment also got messed up somehow. So, they had to tow it.”

Google Maps apologized for the rerouting disaster and said that it had removed that route from its platform.

While she understands that even technology has it’s issues, Easler is hopeful Google Maps can make it right.

“It was like $5,000 worth of damage,” she said.

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