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Taco eating contestant died by choking, coroner says

FRESNO, Calif. — A Northern California coroner says a man choked to death while participating in a taco-eating contest at a minor league baseball game.

The Fresno County sheriff-coroner’s office released the cause of death for 41-year-old Dana Hutchings after an autopsy Thursday. He died after Tuesday night’s contest at the Fresno Grizzlies game.

Witness Matthew Boylan told the Fresno Bee he noticed Hutchings was eating much more quickly than the two other contestants and did not appear to be chewing his food.

He said Hutchings collapsed and hit his face on a table about seven minutes into the contest, then fell to the ground. The eating contest ended immediately.

Fresno sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti says emergency room staff at the hospital tried to clear food from Hutchings’ airway.

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