Angela Chao (1)
Angela Chao, former Chair and CEO of Foremost Group. (Foremost Group)

A recently released Texas authorities report sheds light on the death of Foremost Group CEO Angela Chao, who drowned after her Tesla went into a pond on a ranch co-owned by her and her husband, venture capitalist Jim Breyer.

According to a police report released Wednesday, Chao was intoxicated when her Tesla X SUV plunged into a pond on a Texas ranch she co-owned with her husband. The report details friends and rescuers' valiant but unsuccessful efforts to save Chao.

The incident occurred last month and has been ruled an "unfortunate accident" in the new report. The Blanco County Sheriff's Office report, citing a toxicology report, states that Chao's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .233.

At .233, Chao's blood alcohol content (BAC) was almost three times the legal driving limit in Texas. This level can impair judgment and coordination, likely contributing to the accident. The report cites a surveillance video from the ranch's guest house capturing Chao hobbling towards her vehicle on the night of the incident.

Chao was the sister-in-law of U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell is married to Elaine Chao, Angela's sister, who previously served as Secretary of Labor and Transportation under Republican presidents.

The police report revealed that Chao had invited seven close friends for a weekend getaway at her sprawling 4,500-acre ranch in Johnson City, Texas. The report also suggests the gathering occurred the day after attending a Pitbull concert in Austin, the night before the tragic accident.

Investigation reveals drowning in Texas after Tesla crash

The report suggests most of Chao's guests, Harvard Business School graduates like her, were from New York. Her husband, Jim Breyer, was away in Dubai while their child remained at the ranch's main house.

Following dinner and drinks with her friends at the guest house, Chao departed around 11:30 p.m. for the main house, roughly a mile away.

According to the police report, Chao's Tesla struck a nearby retaining wall close to the pond. The impact caused the separation of two large limestone blocks, at least three feet high and weighing up to 500 pounds. The force of the collision sent the SUV airborne before it "landed and rolled into the pond."

Surveillance video shows Chao's Tesla first lurching towards a wooden barrier. The car then lurched towards a wooden barrier before inexplicably reversing left, mounting, and going over the limestone block wall, according to a report by CNBC.

Shortly after departing, Chao called a friend, Amber Landeau-Kienan, calmly stating that she was "in the lake" (referring to the pond). Kienan rushed outside to find the Tesla submerged in the pond, approximately 30 feet from the guest house.

"Chao, who is still on the phone with Keinan, tells Keinan in a [calm] voice her feet are underwater," the report said. "Keinan tells Chao to get out of the vehicle. In a calm voice, Chao informs Kienan she is not able to get out of the vehicle."

"Chao told Keinan the water was rising and she was going to die, and said, 'I love you' to Keinan prior to the vehicle going under water." The report details Kienan's frantic efforts to help.

After an eight-minute phone call with Chao, Kienan grabbed a kayak and paddled towards the submerged Tesla. In the meantime, another friend, Victoria Garcia, rushed to the pond and swam directly to the sinking vehicle. "Victoria then climbed on top of the Tesla and attempted to locate Ms Chao," the report said.

A third friend, Heela Yang Tsuzuki, alerted emergency services by calling 911. Rescue workers arrived at the scene soon after. Upon arrival, a sheriff's deputy saw the ranch manager "standing on top of the fully submerged vehicle," roughly 25 yards from the shore. Meanwhile, Kienan was paddling her kayak back towards the shore.

Rescue efforts hampered by Tesla's reinforced glass

The ranch manager informed the deputies that the rear passenger door of the Tesla was open. Despite repeated attempts to locate Chao through the back door, both deputies were unsuccessful, as reported by the document.

"During our time there were several females screaming at us [frantically] on the bank," the deputy wrote. "They advised that they knew she was in the water due to Chao calling them and advising that the vehicle was filling up with water."

After retrieving a breaker bar from Blanco County firefighters, the deputy swam back to the submerged vehicle and attempted to break the windshield, but the efforts were unsuccessful. Tragically, Chao's rescue was hampered by the reinforced glass of the Tesla Model X's windows and sunroof.

Tests conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) have shown that breaking these windows underwater is nearly impossible. The test result corroborates Tesla CEO Elon Musk's 2017 admission of "very foolish" design mistakes regarding the Model X's complexity.

Two medics then swam to help the deputy break the side window on the SUV, and "I swam down and felt a hand," the deputy wrote. Chao was pulled out, and medics performed CPR while swimming her back to shore. She was pronounced dead at 1:40 a.m. on February 11th.

In the days following the unfortunate incident on February 10th, a joint investigation was conducted by the Texas Rangers, FBI agents, and the Blanco County Sheriff's Office. After reviewing evidence, including scene photos, videos, and reports, the combined team "felt this incident was nothing more than an unfortunate accident."

A spokesperson for James Chao and his family on Wednesday said, "Angela's passing was a terrible tragedy, and words cannot describe the family's profound grief."

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