Family of man who died after taco eating contest at Fresno Grizzlies game stunned by loss

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Family members of the man who choked and died during a taco eating competition Tuesday say they are still stunned by the loss.

Mecca Hutchings says her brother, Dana Andrew Hutchings, told her he was going to take part in the competition hours before he died.

"Who would think something like this would happen?" she said Wednesday.

Mecca said it still doesn't seem real. She and her mother Dora are left with only these memories of Dana.

"He told us he was going to a taco eating contest, but we didn't think something like this would happen," Mecca said.

Fresno County sheriff's authorities say Hutchings was taking part in an eating competition at Chukchansi Park when he started choking.

Paramedics tried to clear food from his airway, but he died minutes later.

His mother Dora lives in Gilroy and says she was trying to text and call her son for hours before she got that heartbreaking call from the hospital.

"He said my son wasn't responding to anything. How they identified him was that he has a tattoo on his hand that says Dora," she said.

Along with being an avid Grizzlies fan, Mecca says her brother had a great sense of humor and enjoyed meeting new people.

"He liked taking photos, photography. He liked watching sports," she said.

Officials with the Fresno Grizzlies declined to speak on camera but announced the cancelation of Saturday's taco-eating competition part of the Taco Truck Throwdown event.

A move Grizzlies fans, like Andy McMurray say is respectable.

"It's a sad thing to see happen because people are just trying to have fun. It's sad to see, I think the Grizzlies acted in the appropriate way considering," he said.

The Hutchings family says they're still trying to cope with the loss.

Dora says she usually drives her son down from Gilroy when he comes to visit.

But this time, his seat stayed empty.

"I just look over to the side and he wasn't there. I just missed him so much," Dora said.

Family members say Hutchings leaves behind a son.

An autopsy scheduled for Thursday should reveal more details about his death, but toxicology results could take a month or longer.
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