Angela Chao Was Drunk When She Died In Car Crash, Police Report Shows

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Angela Chao, CEO of a shipping company and part of a family prominent in American politics, was legally intoxicated when she drove into a pond in Texas and died last month, according to a police report released Wednesday, which called the episode a “unfortunate accident.”

The report, released by the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, describes a heartbreaking scene on the night of February 10 when friends and deputies frantically tried to get Ms. Chao out of her Tesla after she drove it into the pond in a family ranch in Johnson. City, Texas.

That same night, Ms. Chao, 50, had dinner with a group of friends at a guesthouse on the ranch, according to the report. Around 11:30 p.m., the guests began to return to their bedrooms or their homes. Ms. Chao then got into her Tesla and reversed it toward the pond, according to the report.

A friend told investigators that Ms. Chao called her at 11:42 p.m. to tell her that her car was in the pond and she couldn’t get out of it. The water was rising and Ms. Chao said “she was going to die and she said ‘I love you'” before the Tesla sank, according to the report. The conversation lasted about eight minutes.

The friend then got into a kayak and paddled toward the Tesla, while another friend got into the water, swam to the vehicle and climbed on top of it, trying to find Ms. Chao, the report states. A third friend contacted 911 at 11:55 p.m. and remained on the phone for 11 minutes, according to the report.

When law enforcement officers and firefighters arrived, they waded into the cold water and tried to get into the car, according to the report. The driver’s door window was broken and an officer dove into the water and began feeling around the car until he found Ms. Chao.

Her body was brought ashore, but emergency medical workers were unable to regain a pulse and Ms. Chao was pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m. on February 11. The report says a toxicology test found that Ms. Chao had a blood alcohol level. concentration level of 0.233 grams per 100 milliliters, above the legal limit in Texas of 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters.

“After reviewing all of the evidence,” Ms. Chao’s death was determined to be an “unfortunate accident,” the report states.

A spokesman for Ms. Chao’s father, James SC Chao, and the Chao family said in a statement that Ms. Chao’s death “was a terrible tragedy, and words cannot describe the family’s deep pain.” .

“The family is grateful for the first responders and friends who tried so hard to save her,” the statement said.

Since 2018, Ms. Chao had been president and CEO of the Chao family’s Foremost Group, which operates a global fleet of bulk carriers.

She was the sister of Elaine Chao, who served as Secretary of Transportation under President Donald J. Trump, as well as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush. Elaine Chao is married to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

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