Funeral For Sgt. James Hackemer

July 14, 2011 Updated Jul 14, 2011 at 10:31 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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July 14, 2011 Updated Jul 14, 2011 at 10:31 PM EDT


(Gowanda, N.Y.) So many people attended the funeral for disabled Army veteran, James Hackemer, that an outside tent was set up to accommodate the overflow crowd.

Hundreds of people came to the Gowanda Assembly of God Church to show their support.

Sgt. James Hackemer was a double-amputee.

While on combat duty in Iraq in 2008, Sgt. Hackemer lost both his legs when the vehicle he was riding in was caught in a roadside explosion.

Hackemer's injuries were so bad, that he died twice and was in a coma for several weeks.

However, the 29-year old man was revived and recovered to the point where he was able to return to Gowanda in the Spring 2011.

His family tells Eyewitness News that James was living his life to the fullest.

But last Friday, tragedy struck the disabled veteran and father of two young girls.

James Hackemer died after he was thrown from the "Ride of Steel" roller coaster at the Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in Darien, NY.

No charges will be filed in the accidental death, but police investigators say the park's safety rules were not followed.

The New York State Department of Labor is investigating why James Hackemer and his 19-year old nephew were allowed to board the "Ride of Steel."

Investigators say signs posted at the entrance and exit to the ride clearly listed the physical requirements.

Authorities say Hackemer did not have the physical attributes to ride the roller coaster and because of that, he was thrown from a front car as it reached the third hill near the end of the ride.