Iraq War Vet Dies in Fall from Roller Coaster

An Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a 2008 IED attack was killed Friday in an accident at the Darien Lake (New York) Theme Park. Sgt. James Hackemer, 29, fell from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at approximately 5:30 p.m.

The park describes the Ride of Steel as one of the tallest coasters east of the Mississippi, climbing more than 200 feet and reaching speeds over 68 mph. The coaster and the surrounding area were closed after the incident as police and the park investigated. The park has since reopened.

Genesse County Police Sergeant Sergeant Greg Walker still believes the ride is safe and that visitors have no reason to stay away. He says it doesn't appear a mechanical issue caused the rider to be ejected.

Sgt. Hackemer was a double amputee, who lost his right leg below the knee and his left leg below the hip. He was at the Darien Lake Theme Park with his sister and his children.


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