Dax Tejera, an ABC News producer known for his work with George Stephanopoulos, choked to death while intoxicated in New York City last December, contradicting a previous statement by his network that he’d suffered a heart attack.
Tejera, 37, died of “asphyxia due to obstruction of airway by food bolus complicating acute alcohol intoxication,” the city’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told The Daily Beast.
The manner of death, the office said, was an accident.
The exact timeline of the events of Dec. 23 remains unclear, with earlier claims that Tejera “collapsed” only after leaving the Park Avenue steakhouse where he’d been dining that night appearing to refuted by new reports.
An unnamed employee told the New York Post that while at the steakhouse, Dax appeared so ill that servers were prompted to check on him.
He then “got up and started walking like he was going to the men’s room, but he made a right instead and went out the front door and the server followed him outside.
“The server said that he collapsed in the corner, right here outside the restaurant,” the employee said. “It was terrible and a terrible shame they left little, little children alone like that.”
Complicating what Tejera’s widow called a “terrible tragedy” is the fact that, hours later, she was charged with child endangerment after it emerged that the couple had left their young daughters alone in a hotel room to dine out that evening.
In a statement at the time, Veronica Tejera claimed that her parents and a friend were on the way to watch the kids, but when help arrived, the club phoned police instead of allowing them inside.
“We had two cameras trained on my children as they slept, and I monitored them closely in the time I was away from them,” Tejera said. “While the girls were unharmed, I realize that it was a poor decision.”