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Debra HarbeckALBUQUERQUE, NM – The family of 56-year-old Debra Harbeck are suing a nightclub after Harbeck choked and died during a corn dog eating contest at the establishment.

The incident happened back in January when Debra Harbeck was out celebrating her daughter’s 22nd birthday.

While they were drinking at the Fire and Ice nightclub, Harbeck entered into a corn dog eating contest where contestants got on their knees in front of men who were holding corn dogs near their groin area.

The person who ate the corn dog the fastest would win a prize to go along with whatever dignity they had left. Unfortunately for Harbeck, the eager beaver she bit off a bit more than she could chew.

According to the complaint, Harbeck began choking on the corn dog, leading to patrons applying the Heimlich maneuver and CPR before paramedics arrived. The lack of oxygen to her brain caused irreparable brain damage and she would die at the hospital the next day.

Now her daughter, father and her grandmother are suing the club along with anyone connected to the property and its liquor license. The complaint for wrongful death alleges the club over-served alcohol to Harbeck and should not have allowed her to participate in the eating contest.

Harbeck reportedly had a blood alcohol content between 0.13 and 0.14 percent after being served three double shots and four double gin and tonics. The suit also states the club should have had medical personnel at the event like other venues do when they hold eating contests.

Named in the suit are PKG Investments LLC, which was operating as Fire and Ice; Anodyne Corp., which was leasing its liquor license to PKG; and Hinkle Investments LLC, which owns the property Fire and Ice was leasing. The club has since closed down.

We’ve had a couple of eating contest deaths featured on DD, including a man who choked to death during a Fourth of July hot dog eating contest and another man who died after winning a cockroach eating contest.

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