Google Maps Sends Couple to Dangerous Neighborhood in South Africa Where They Were Brutally Attacked at Gunpoint – Lawsuit Seeks Damages

LOS ANGELES – A lawsuit has been filed against Google Maps by a high-powered Los Angeles couple after the app allegedly directed them to a dangerous South African neighborhood, where they were violently attacked at gunpoint, breaking the husband’s jaw.

Jason and Katharine Zoladz, the regional director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s LA office, used the app in October to navigate from their Airbnb to Cape Town’s airport, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The couple claims Google Maps routed them into the Nyanga neighborhood, which has long been known locally as the site of “numerous” violent attacks on tourists by armed bandits – despite warnings to the tech giant from US and local officials about the erroneous directions.

The lawsuit reportedly alleges that “gangs of robbers would lie in wait for tourists traveling in rental cars” and would “assault the cars by throwing bricks or large stones through the car windows, violently assaulting the occupants, and stealing valuables.”

Furthermore, the filing states that Google Maps directed the couple to a notorious stretch of highway dubbed “Hell Run” due to the violent attacks on tourists who wandered into the area.

When the Zoladzes stopped at a red light, armed assailants surrounded their vehicle. One of them threw a paving brick through the driver’s side window, breaking Jason Zoladz’s lower jaw bone into several pieces, cutting through his skin and muscle to bone, and rendering him unconscious, the lawsuit reportedly states.

After the attack, the couple faced struggles to navigate to a hospital or police station, and the aftermath left Jason with significant injuries, including four metal plates in his jaw, pain, and numbness, with the possibility of future surgeries. Katharine was left with lasting emotional damage, the lawsuit claims.

As the couple seek damages, a Google spokesperson stated that the company takes driver safety very seriously and is reviewing the lawsuit.

This incident raises concerns over the accuracy and safety of navigation apps like Google Maps and highlights the potential dangers of relying solely on technology in unfamiliar or potentially hazardous areas. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of exercising caution and seeking local knowledge when traveling to unfamiliar destinations.