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Angela Chao was intoxicated at time of fatal car wreck: police report

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Foremost Group CEO Angela Chao was found to be intoxicated during her fatal car accident in Austin, Texas, according to an incident report released by the Blanco County Sheriff’s office.

Key points:

  • Investigators concluded that Chao was intoxicated at the time of her death, with her blood alcohol level nearly three times the state’s legal limit.

Catch up:

  • Chao, 50, died when her car submerged in a pond on a private ranch in Johnson City, located approximately 40 miles from Austin, on Feb. 11. Foremost Group announced her sudden death in a press release, describing the event as a “tragic car accident.”

  • The report noted that public records showed the property is owned by a corporate entity with the same Chicago address as the investment and equity firm owned by Chao’s husband, Jim Breyer.

The details:

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  • The latest investigation update reports Chao having dinner and drinks at the guest lodge with a group of friends on Feb. 10. Surveillance footage shows Chao walking unsteadily to her vehicle while holding her cell phone at 11:37 p.m. She is observed entering her Tesla, which then lurches towards a wooden barrier, reverses, turns left without stopping and drives over a limestone block wall before entering the pond.

  • Chao reportedly called her friend, Amber Keinan, on her phone for help. Despite being advised to leave the car, she remained inside, describing water entering the vehicle during the eight-minute call. A friend attempted to rescue Chao by paddling to the vehicle in a kayak, while another friend swam to the car and climbed on top, trying to reach her but failing.

  • Deputies arrived at the ranch just after midnight. After failed efforts to break her car's front windshield, they eventually broke the driver-side window to pull Chao out of the submerged vehicle, which had been underwater for approximately 21 minutes.

  • Although medics performed CPR, they pronounced Chao dead at 1:40 a.m. An autopsy was waived by her family for religious reasons, but toxicology results revealed that Chao's blood alcohol concentration was 0.233, enough to cause confusion, drowsiness and vomiting.

About Chao:

  • Chao, who was chair and CEO of her family’s shipping business, Foremost Group, and president of her father’s philanthropic organization, Foremost Foundation, is being remembered for her contributions to the Asian American community. She served as the Asian American Foundation’s advisory council co-chair.

  • Chao is survived by her husband, father and four sisters. She was the youngest sister of Elaine Chao, a businesswoman and former government official who served under former presidents Donald Trump and George W. Bush.

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