US billionaire drowned with Tesla – the dramatic death of Angela Chaos

Angela Chao was successful, rich and had powerful family ties – then the 50-year-old backed her Tesla into a pond and drowned. Dramatic details about the accident have now become known.

On February 11, prominent US entrepreneur Angela Chao died in an accident on her ranch in Texas. Now the dramatic circumstances of her death have become known. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Chao drowned after she reversed her Tesla into a pond due to a driving error. Although numerous helpers were on site, it was not possible to save her in time. She was locked in the car.

Angela Chao's death is also causing a stir because she comes from elite circles in the US business world, with family connections to the highest levels of US politics. Her brother-in-law is Senator Mitch McConnell, the longtime Republican leader in the Senate and one of the most influential politicians in the country. Her sister Elaine Chao, McConnell's wife, was Secretary of Labor under US President George W. Bush and Secretary of Transportation under Donald Trump.

Angela Chao herself is a graduate of the elite Harvard University and, since 2018, has been CEO of the Foremost Group, an international shipping company that was founded in the 1960s by her father, a Chinese dissident. Her husband, Jim Breyer, is a private equity investor and is worth $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. The couple has a three-year-old son.

A fatal mistake

The fatal accident, which the Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) reconstructed based on police reports, eyewitness reports and interviews with Chao's acquaintances, occurred during a private Chinese New Year celebration. Chao had invited some friends from her college days to her huge ranch near the Texas city of Austin. Late that evening, she climbed into her Tesla Model

But when turning the car, Chao apparently made a driving error that had happened to her before, according to the WSJ. Instead of going forward, she put her Tesla in reverse, crashed through an embankment and landed in the pond. The car immediately began to sink and Chao was unable to free himself. She managed to call one of her friends in the nearby house, who rushed over and made an emergency call. But any help came too late.

The friends were unable to somehow open the sinking car from the outside and by the time emergency services reached the remote property, the car was already under water. When a truck finally managed to pull the Tesla out of the dark water, it was too late. The inside of the car was full and all attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.

Nobody from Chao's family sees Tesla as being at fault

The details of the accident, which happened four weeks ago, were not initially known. The responsible sheriff's office said at the end of February that it was tentatively assumed to be an accident, but was continuing to investigate a possible criminal background. Speculation arose on social media that someone might have murdered Chao because of her political and economic connections. A Texas hedge fund manager raised the question of whether someone could have tampered with or hacked the car. According to the WSJ, no one from Chao's family is blaming Tesla.

The Journal writes that a driver only has about a minute to escape a sinking car. In the past, you could still roll down the windows manually. In modern cars like the Tesla Model X, there may only be seconds to press the window button before the water rises too high. According to studies, around 400 people drown in their cars every year in North America alone.

Source: “WSJ” (paid content)