Shipping Industry CEO Dies in Tragic Tesla Accident in Texas

Source: Wikipedia

Tragic events occur more often than anyone wants them to. Car accidents and natural disasters are some of the sad realities of life, and every now and then there are accidents that gain more notoriety for who are involved, rather than the disaster itself.

An Accident in Texas

One such event recently happened in Texas. Angela Chao, the CEO of the Foremost Group, which is a privately held shipping company based out of New York City. She was the sister of Elaine Chao, who is the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Source: Stephen Crowley

Chao, 50, unfortunately passed away in February on a Texas ranch, after her car went into a pond and became submerged in water. The first reports surrounding the accident stated that Chao died in a “car accident,” but details surrounding the event have since come out explaining what happened.

Tragically Drowned

Chao is believed to have drowned after her Tesla veered off the road, into a pond on a private ranch in Texas. Understandably, local officials have been fairly tight-lipped surrounding the incident while the investigation is underway, though they have denied that there is a criminal investigation underway.

Source: Wikimedia/Alexander Migl

“It’s always been an unfortunate accident,” said Robert Woodring, the chief deputy for the Blanco County sheriff’s office. “We have not seen a single thing that would make us believe otherwise.”

Rescue Workers Needed a Dive Team

The Wall Street Journal, citing a fire department incident report, revealed that rescue workers needed a dive team upon arriving at the scene. Unfortunately, none were available at the time of arrival, and it took nearly half an hour for one emergency unit to arrive on the scene.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Upon arriving at the scene, one of the emergency officials said that the car was “completely submerged” with someone inside. Various news outlets reported that the submerged car was a Tesla, adding another layer to this story.

Deputies Stood on the Car

In trying to discover who was in the car and attempt to rescue them, deputies had to get in the water and stand on top of the actual crashed car, trying to gain access. Other crew members searched the banks for other victims while this was ongoing.

Source: Wikimedia/RF Vila

A tow truck arrived shortly after the emergency officials began their rescue efforts, but unfortunately, the chains of the truck couldn’t reach the car from the banks. Emergency officials had to come up with a different way to try to get to the victim inside of the car.

Different Tools to Break Into the Car

The deputies who were on top of the vehicle used different tools, including a pike pole and a Halligan bar, to try and break into the vehicle. Due to the depth of the car in the pond and the angle of the windows, it took the officials nearly an hour to break into the car.

Source: Wikimedia/Steve Jurvetson

There were no dive teams that were available to be sent to the scene, which is why it took the deputies so long to break into the car by other methods. After the deputies pulled the victim from the car, who was then revealed to be Chao, they proceeded to attempt emergency life-saving efforts for 43 minutes before Chao was pronounced dead on the scene.

About Angela Chao

Chao was the chair and CEO of the Foremost Group, and the president of her father’s philanthropic organization, the Foremost Foundation. The company has yet to comment on the death of their CEO, and officials with Blanco County fire and emergency services have yet to comment, as well.

Source: Susan Young

Chao was the daughter of immigrant parents who moved to the U.S. from China in the late 1950’s. Her sister, Elaine Chao, served as the transportation secretary under President Donald Trump, and the labor secretary under President George W. Bush.

McConnell Commenting on Chao’s Death

While the company has yet to comment on the death of Chao, her brother-in-law, Mitch McConnell, commented on her death when he announced that he would be stepping down from the Senate Republican leadership last month.

Source: Wikimedia/Takemetothelake

“As some of you may know, this has been a particularly difficult time for my family. We tragically lost Elaine’s younger sister Angela, just a few weeks ago. When you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there’s a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process.”

Tesla Under Scrutiny

Chao was driving a Model X Tesla at the time of her death, and while officials have proclaimed the event a tragic accident, Tesla and Elon Musk have still come under scrutiny while the investigation is underway.

Source: Wikimedia/Ministério Das Comunicações

Chao allegedly accidentally put her 2020 Tesla into reverse and backed into the pond, which was the cause of her tragic death. According to the Wall Street Journal, this was not the first time that Chao had mistakenly put her Tesla into reverse.

Other Complaints from Tesla Users

The tragic death of Chao has drawn attention to Tesla as a company, as well as the specific gear shift design that caused this upsetting incident. The design has received dozens of complaints over the years for confusing users.

Source: Wikimedia/Bin im Garten

A statement on the part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Fox Business that there have been approximately 20 complaints from vehicle owners about potential shifter issues in various Tesla models. The agency has not received specific complaints about issues with the Model X, though that means very little.

Complaints Regarding Reverse

Among those complaints, at least 12 of them filed with the Department of Transportation are related to how Tesla vehicles are put into reverse. Seven users have reported confusion with the gearshift design, resulting in them putting the car into drive when they meant to put the car in reverse.

Source: Wikimedia/Ian Maddox

Five other complaints reported that their Teslas appeared to switch between drive and reverse without warning, according to Business Insider. It goes without saying that spontaneous gear shifting is about as far from safe as it can be for a car model, and that this could present significant safety concerns for Tesla owners.

Commiserating On the Accident

On Tesla forums, other owners of Tesla cars have posted regarding Angela Chao’s accident, commiserating with the struggle that ultimately led to her tragic death. One driver reported that, in 2022, they nearly got into an accident due to confusion over how to put the car in reverse.

Source: Wikimedia/Harani0403

In the 2020 Tesla Model X, users can shift gears by using a drive stalk attached to the steering wheel. When the car is in part, the user must press the brake pedal to shift, and to go into reverse, the drive stalk must be pushed all the way up and released. The car will only move into reverse if the vehicle is at a complete stop or going less than 5 miles per hour.

Touch Screen Gear Shift

Newer Tesla models use a touch screen to shift gears, adding to some of the confusion regarding Teslas. These issues are not the only problems that have been reported in Teslas, creating a significantly polarizing opinion of the company. There are Tesla evangelists who see nothing wrong with anything about Teslas, and critics who think that the company is deeply mismanaged.

Source: Wikimedia/Steve Jurvetson

One of the most recent problems that have been seen in Tesla cars surrounds the new Tesla Cybertruck. The car model has been in development for years, and problems have been quickly reported with the advent of the pilot of the car. Among one of the most famous issues is a tendency for the cybertruck to rust when it gets wet, creating significant problems for users.

Doing Better Moving Forward

The death of Angela Chao is undoubtedly a tragic accident, but it has had the effect of drawing attention to Tesla and their challenging car design. Accidents such as this are never desirable, especially for such high-profile figures as the Chao and McConnell families.

Source: Wikimedia/Steve Jurvetson

Chao’s father, James S.C. Chao said in the family statement at the time of her death that “her absence leaves a void not only in our hearts, but in the Asian-American community.” The only hope left is that Tesla will take some responsibility for the tragic circumstances of her death, and work to improve Tesla models in the future to prevent any more accidents from happening in the future.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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