• California man dies after choking during taco eating contest

    By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    FRESNO, Calif. -

    A California man choked and died while competing in an amateur taco eating contest, officials said.

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    Dana Andrew Hutchings, 41, told witnesses he hadn't eaten anything all day Tuesday in preparation for the contest, which took place between innings at a Fresno Grizzlies Minor League Baseball game, KFSN-TV reported. Hutchings appeared to be winning the contest before he suddenly stopped eating, said witness Eric Schmidt.

    That's when Hutchings apparently began to choke, said Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's and Coroner's Office.

    "Fresno Grizzlies medical staff rushed over, started to give him first aid and then turned him over to American Ambulance," Botti said.

    Hutchings died shortly after being rushed to a local hospital, CNN reported.

    An autopsy will be conducted on Hutchings' body Thursday to determine a cause of death. It's unclear if choking was the cause of death, Botti said, adding that Hutchings was diabetic.

    “It could take some time to determine,” Botti told People Magazine. “We will review Hutchings’ medical records and run toxicology tests, which is standard in all cases.”

    The ballpark had been planning on hosting Major League Eating's World Taco Eating Championship on Saturday at the same time as the team's annual Taco Truck Throwdown event, People Magazine reported. The taco eating championship has since been canceled.

    Tuesday's taco eating contest wasn't affiliated with Major League Eating, People Magazine reported.

    Fresno Grizzlies officials released the following statement on Hutchings' death:

    "We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening's game has passed away. The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings. The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested."

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