Man Appears to Have Choked to Death While Competing in Taco-Eating Contest

Bystanders said Dana Hutchings collapsed after a few minutes.

A California taco-eating contest ended tragically when a man died. 

Dana Hutchings, 41, collapsed in the middle of the competition Tuesday at Chukchansi Park in Fresno during a Fresno Grizzlies game, according to authorities. Paramedics rushed to help him on the scene, but he was later pronounced dead at the hospital. 

His cause of death is still being determined, though the coroner's office said that preliminary indications suggest he choked to death. It’s not clear how many tacos he ate. 

A bystander who watched the competition told the Fresno Bee that Hutchings was “eating so fast” compared to the other contestants. 

“It was like he’d never eaten before,” Matthew Boylan said. “He was just shoving the tacos down his mouth without chewing.”

Boylan said after seven minutes, Hutchings collapsed and the competition immediately ended. 

"We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening's game has passed away," Fresno Grizzlies president Derek Franks said in a statement.

"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."

The competition was being held ahead of ninth annual Taco Truck Throwdown, which is Saturday.