The son of legendary TV newsman Ted Koppel was found dead in a Washington Heights apartment under mysterious circumstances yesterday morning after a daylong drinking binge with a man he had just met in a Midtown bar, law-enforcement sources said
, 40, of Rockaway Park, Queens
, was declared dead at around 1:30 a.m. after paramedics were called to the rundown apartment in what a law-enforcement source called a "s- - - building
" on 180th Street at Audubon Avenue, where he had been found unconscious and not breathing in a bedroom, the sources said
Andrew Koppel Died In This Room
Koppel -- who was an attorney for the city Housing Authority
-- was a slobbering mess when he was brought to the apartment at around 11 p.m. by Russell Wimberly
, a 32-year-old waiter he had met at a Hell's Kitchen
bar nearly 12 hours earlier.
Koppel "was just really messed up when he came in. He was very drunk
," said Belinda Caban
, 53, who lives at the apartment.
Caban, who called Wimberly a drinking buddy, told The Post: "I didn't understand anything [Koppel] said. We took him to the bedroom and laid him down to rest."
After a couple of hours, she and Wimberly discovered he had urinated and defecated in the bed and appeared not to be breathing. They called 911.
"His complexion wasn't right. It was pale. I said to call the police
," Caban said. "When the ambulance came, they said he was dead."
No one has been charged, and the medical examiner has yet to determine a cause of death.
Koppel -- who lived with his girlfriend and their baby daughter -- began his bender at around noon at Smith's Bar & Restaurant
at 44th Street and Ninth Avenue when he befriended Wimberly.
"He had a straw hat on, and I had one on, and he said, 'Nice hat, man
,' " Wimberly recalled. "We got to talking, and he started buying me drinks."
Koppel drank straight whiskey and suggested they move from bar to bar, Wimberly said.
As they walked, Koppel sipped from a pint bottle of Jameson
, Wimberly said.
"There was a lot of alcohol. He didn't take anything else [drugs] around me, and neither of us ate all day
," he said. "We talked about our kids . . . He said he had a kid and loved [her] a lot
Eventually, they took a taxi up to Caban's apartment, stopping at a liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey and beer.
Koppel "wasn't feeling good. I told him to lay down and turn the light off. He was snoring really loud. I thought he was out
," Wimberly said.
Koppel was the third youngest of Ted Koppel's four children with his wife, Grace Anne
. He was their only son.
His father, former anchor of ABC's "Nightline
," could not be reached for comment.
Andrew Koppel's oldest sister, Andrea
, a former CNN correspondent, declined to comment. His younger sister, Tara, was spotted weeping at her Manhattan apartment. She also didn't want to talk.
Andrew Koppel was convicted in 1993 of punching out a senatorial aide in a drunken dust-up in DC
and was ordered into alcohol treatment. Three years earlier, he got into a drunken fender bender while driving his father's Mercedes in their home state of Maryland.
Source: New York Post
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