The Sheriff’s Office says Angela Chow was drunk when she drove her car into the lake

The Sheriff’s Office says Angela Chow was drunk when she drove her car into the lake

Adriel Riboh/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

Angela Chow hosts a New York City Opera pre-concert party at a private residence on October 21, 2010 in New York City.


Angela Chao, the shipping company’s CEO and sister-in-law of outgoing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, was drunk when she drove her Tesla into a lake on a Texas ranch in a fatal crash last month, according to the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.

The 62-page incident report gives a harrowing account of the night of Feb. 10, when Chow accidentally returned to the lake, after a party with friends, and became trapped in her car.

She called her friend for help, and as the water level in the car rose higher and higher, she “said goodbye,” the report states. Friends frantically tried to get her out of the car in time, but failed, and emergency responders eventually pulled her body from the car.

Toxicology found that Chow’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.233, or about three times the legal limit. The Cleveland Clinic says a level of 0.15 to 0.3 can cause a person to experience confusion, vomiting and drowsiness.

The report concluded that her death was an “unfortunate accident.”

Zhao’s death took on special significance given her closeness to power. She was the CEO of shipping company Foremost Group and the sister of Elaine Chao, the former Trump administration secretary of transportation who is married to McConnell. The 82-year-old Republican senator referred to the death of his sister-in-law last month when he announced his plan to step down as leader of the Republican Party.

“As some of you will know, this has been an extremely difficult time for my family. We tragically lost Elaine’s younger sister, Angela, just a few weeks ago. “When you lose someone dear to you, especially at a young age, there is a kind of contemplation that accompanies the grieving process. Perhaps this is God’s way of reminding you of your life’s journey to reprioritize the impact of the world we will all inevitably leave behind.

Chow, a Harvard graduate who lives in Austin, met up with a group of friends for the weekend and attended a Pitbull party on Friday, February 9, according to the report. The next day, the group spent the day touring her family’s farm in Johnson City, the report said.

The group had dinner and drinks at the guest lodge, and at around 11:30 p.m., everyone started heading back to their bedrooms or heading home.

External camera video from the south shows Chow at 11:37 p.m. walking “unsteadily to her car while continuing to hold her cell phone in her right hand,” according to the report.

Chow was later seen getting into her Tesla. The report stated that the camera then captured the car heading towards a wooden barrier, then reversing, turning to the left without stopping, and over the top of a limestone wall. And then I got into the car water. A minute later, the car’s lights were no longer visible.

While inside, Zhao called a friend for help, and others came to try to save her.

At 11:42 p.m., a friend received a phone call from Chow telling her she “drove her car into the pond,” the report states. The friend asked Chow to leave the car, but she said she couldn’t, the friend later told law enforcement.

The girlfriend remained on the phone with Chow for eight minutes while she described water getting into the car, officials said in the report. The same happened to my friend Another friend got into a kayak and paddled over to the car, swam to the car, climbed on top of it and tried to get to Chow, officials said in the report.

Shortly after midnight, deputies arrived at the farm.

The farm manager told deputies that the Tesla’s back door was open, and they subsequently “tried several times to locate the vehicle’s occupant through the rear passenger door but were unable to do so.”

They tried unsuccessfully to break the windshield, and eventually broke the driver’s side window, the report said.

Once the window was broken, the deputy stated they swam down, felt a hand, and along with a paramedic helped extricate Chow from the submerged vehicle. The car was in the water for approximately 21 minutes.

“Paramedics then swam to shore with the body and began performing CPR,” the report stated.

First responders pronounced Chow dead at 1:40 a.m., the report said. An autopsy was not performed because the family cited religious reasons.

CNN’s Rebecca Reiss and Eric Levinson contributed to this story.

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