Sheriff: War vet who died at Darien Lake had copy of park rules

Sgt. James Hackemer / photo: U.S. Dept. of Veterans' Affairs

An Iraq war veteran who died falling out of a rollercoaster at Darien Lake told park officials he already had a copy of the rules on the day he died.

According to Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha, Sgt. James Hackemer's first stop at the Darien Lake Theme Park was guest services. Park workers claim Hackemer asked about the park's ride guidelines for the handicapped. Hackemer lost both his legs in the war.

Staff members said they offered Hackemer a pamphlet that gave details on each ride's regulations but Hackemer refused the pamphlet, claiming he already had a copy. Park rules do state riders on the Ride of Steel, the coaster Hackemer fell from, have to have the use of both legs.

The Ride of Steel remains closed until the Department of Labor concludes its investigation into the tragic incident.

Maha says his department will not be pressing charges, as Darien Lake did not commit any criminal acts, but instead violated its own policy.

Once the Department of Labor finishes investigations, lawsuits may be filed against the park for the death of Hackemer, resulting from their violation of park policy.

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