Man dies during taco-eating contest

California

FRESNO (KFSN/CNN) – Medical examiners will conduct an autopsy Thursday on a man who died during a taco-eating contest in Fresno.

Dana Andrew Hutchings came to Chukchansi Park with an appetite Tuesday night.

He told a fellow Grizzlies fan he’d starved himself all day so he could win an amateur taco-eating contest between innings.

And he may have foreshadowed the trouble to come.

“He also mentioned that he was diabetic and he’d had some beer and it was hot outside,” said witness Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt says he offered Hutchings some food, but he was saving himself for tacos.

And then he popped up on the Jumbotron video screen, winning the competition.

“But he ate about half the sheet of tacos and then he stopped because you could tell there was too much food in him. And then I think he kind of chewed a little bit more and started on another one and then the screen blacked out,” Schmidt said.

Investigators say Hutchings choked during the contest.

Emergency medical personnel at the stadium rushed in to help him and got him to a nearby hospital.

“Once he got to the emergency room, staff was having to clear food out of his airway. And complications continued and a little less than 30 minutes later, he ended up passing away,” said Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Coroners say Hutchings had some medical issues and they’ll conduct an autopsy Thursday to see if anything besides choking contributed to his death.

The Grizzlies now say their professional taco-eating championship that was scheduled for this Saturday has been canceled.

41-year-old Hutchings leaves behind two teenage children.

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