ABC producer Dax Tejera choked to death due to alcohol after collapsing on NYC sidewalk

Mr Tejera died two days before Christmas

Abe Asher
Thursday 09 February 2023 13:12 GMT
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Dax Tejera, the ABC News producer who died two days before Christmas, choked to death while intoxicated, according to authorities.

ABC News initially announced that Mr Tejera had died of a heart attack, but the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in New York City confirmed on Wednesday that the producer’s cause of death has been determined as “Asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication.”

Mr Tejera, who was just 37 years old, collapsed on a sidewalk in New York following the conclusion of a meal at a Bobby Van’s steakhouse. He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Mr Tejera and his wife Veronica Tejera had been staying at the Yale Club in Midtown Manhattan, and had reportedly left their two young children of two years and just five months in their hotel room while they went out to eat at the steakhouse. The couple were in New York to celebrate the holidays, and were staying at the exclusive club reserved for alumni of Yale University.

Shortly after Mr Tejera was pronounced dead, New York Police Department officers arrested Ms Tejera for child endangerment for leaving the children in the room. The children were unharmed, and left the hotel room with their grandmother shortly after Mr Tejera collapsed.

Ms Tejera, a producer at The Washington Post, was taken into custody and released early the next morning.

Mr Tejera was executive producer of the news programme This Week on ABC, the network’s signature Sunday morning show hosted by George Stephanopoulos, and had worked at the network since 2017. Mr Tejera held degrees from two Ivy League institutions, Dartmouth and Columbia, and had also previously worked at NBC.

The initial announcement that Mr Tejera had died suddenly of a heart attack sparked conspiracy theories in some corners of the internet, where people claimed without evidence that his death was connected to a Covid-19 vaccine. The announcement from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirms that Mr Tejera’s death was unrelated to his vaccination status or the condition of his heart more generallly.

There are more than 3 million cases of acute alcohol intoxication annually in the US, many of which can be treated with rest, hydration, and a cessation of alcohol use. According to the National Institute on Alochol and Alcoholism, however, a very high level of intoxication can in some cases “hinder signals in the brain that control automatic responses such as the gag reflex.”

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