The son of legendary TV newsman Ted Koppel died early Monday after a night of drinking that ended in the seedy Manhattan apartment of a man he met at a Hell's Kitchen bar, law enforcement officials said today.
Andrew Koppel, a 40-year-old attorney with the New York City Housing Authority with a history of alcohol problems, was declared dead around 1:30 a.m. Police said Koppel had been drinking heavily for hours with a waiter he met that day, Russell Wimberly.
A roommate of Wimberly, Belinda Caban, told the New York Post that Koppel was extremely drunk and that they put him to bed, only to find him dead hours later. Wimberly, 32, said they met at Smith's Bar on 44th St. and Ninth Ave., striking up a conversation after each noticed the other wearing a similar straw hat.
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"He said, 'Nice hat, man,'" Wimberly told the Post. "We got to talking and he started buying me drinks."
Wimberly said Koppel drank straight whiskey, and when he suggested bar-hopping around the city, he sipped from a pint bottle of Jameson as they walked.
"There was a lot of alcohol," Wimberly told the Post.
Koppel was the third of the "Nightline" anchor's four children and their only son. In 1993, he was convicted of punching a senate aide and ordered to undergo alcohol treatment. In 1990, he was in an alcohol-related fender-bender in Maryland.