Angela Chao was drunk when she died in car crash, police report says

Angela Chao, a shipping company chief executive and member of a prominent family 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 an incident. “Unfortunate accident”.

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

Earlier that night, Ms. Chao, 50, had dinner with a group of friends at a guesthouse on the ranch, the report said. Around 11:30 p.m., guests began returning to their rooms or homes. Ms. Chao then got into her Tesla and reversed into the pond, the report said.

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

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

When law enforcement and firefighters arrived, they entered the cold water and attempted to get into the car, the report states. The driver's door window was broken and a deputy went underwater and began feeling around the car until he found Ms. Chao.

Her body was carried ashore, but rescuers were unable to find her pulse and Ms Chao was pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m. on February 11. The report states that a toxicology test revealed that Ms. Chao had a high blood alcohol level. concentration level of 0.233 grams per 100 milliliters, higher than the legal limit in Texas of 0.08 grams per 100 milliliters.

“After reviewing all the evidence,” Ms. Chao’s death was deemed an “unfortunate accident,” the report said.

A spokesperson 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 grief.”

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

Ms. Chao has served since 2018 as 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 former President Donald J. Trump, as well as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush. Elaine Chao is married to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate.

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