Angela Chao: Shipping billionaire intoxicated when she drowned in a Tesla, police report shows

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  • By Brandon Drenon
  • bbc news

Image source, fake images


Angela Chao photographed in 2022 with her husband Jim Breyer, a billionaire in his own right

Shipping magnate Angela Chao was drunk when she inadvertently rolled her Tesla into a pond and drowned last month on a Texas ranch, police say.

The Blanco County Sheriff’s Office found his blood alcohol level was nearly three times the state’s legal limit.

The 50-year-old man died after having dinner Feb. 10 with a group of friends at a farm near Johnson City.

His brother-in-law, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, cited the tragedy in his resignation speech.

On Wednesday, the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office released the results of its investigation, concluding that Ms. Chao’s death was an “unfortunate accident.”

She had invited seven friends from her days at Harvard Business School to spend the weekend at the 900-acre ranch.

According to the police report, they had attended a concert by rapper Pitbull in Austin the night before.

After dinner at the guesthouse on the night of his death, he returned to the main house.


Chao’s older sister, Elaine Chao (pictured), was US Secretary of Transportation.

But during a three-point turn he accidentally rolled the Model X SUV into a pond.

A friend, Amber Keinan, told detectives that Ms. Chao had called her at 11:42 p.m. and told her the car was in the water and she was trapped inside.

“Chao told Keinan that the water was rising and that she was going to die and told her ‘I love you,'” the report says. “Chao then bid farewell to Keinan.”

The conversation lasted eight minutes.

The police report describes how friends and police tried to save her. Some of the friends were “frantically yelling” at the officers from the edge of the pond.

The officers eventually broke the driver’s side window of the submerged car, pulling Ms. Chao from the vehicle.

She was pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m. on February 11.

A toxicology test found he had a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.233g per 100ml. The legal limit in Texas is 0.08 g per 100 ml.

Ms. Chao was President and CEO of her family’s shipping business, Foremost Group, which operates a global fleet of bulk carriers. The Chaos has a net worth of $14.2 billion (£11 billion), according to Forbes.

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Watch: ‘It’s time to move on’: McConnell announces he’s leaving office

She was married to Jim Breyer, a billionaire venture capitalist.

Her older sister, Elaine Chao, is married to McConnell and was Secretary of Transportation under President Donald Trump and Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush.

When he announced last month that he was leaving his post as Senate minority leader, McConnell suggested that the impact of the tragedy on his family was a factor in his decision.

“When you lose a loved one, especially at a young age, there is a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process,” the Kentucky senator said on the House floor.

Chao’s father, Dr. James Chao, said in a statement provided to the Austin American-Statesman: “Angela’s passing was a terrible tragedy, and words cannot describe the family’s deep pain.”

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