No Charges Filed in Darien Lake Accidental Death

July 13, 2011 Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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July 13, 2011 Updated Jul 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM EDT


(Town of Darien, N.Y.) The Genesee County Sheriff's office has concluded its investigation into the tragic death of 29-year old James Hackemer from Gowanda.

Authorities say no criminal charges will be filed, but civil liability could be determined in the future by a court of law.

An Iraq War veteran, Sgt. Hackemer was killed Friday afternoon July 8th, after he was thrown from the "Ride of Steel" roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort.

The US Army war hero was a double amputee who lost both his legs after his vehicle was hit by an explosion from an I.E.D. in March 2008.

Hackemer, and his 19-year old nephew, were allowed to board the "Ride of Steel" using a ramp designed for park patrons with disabilities.

However, police say Darien Lake violated its own safety policies because James Hackemer did not have the physical attributes required to get on the roller coaster.

Park rules specifically say riders must have "two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension."

The requirements are posted at the exit and entrance areas to the ride and are visible to all riders.

Investigators found that the safety restraints were still properly locked in place after the accident.

Authorities say the force of the roller coaster, which can go as fast as 70mph, threw the disabled vet out in front of the fast moving vehicle at the third hill near the end of the ride.

Hackemer was then knocked off the track and fell more than 100 feet to the ground - where he died from blunt force injuries.

The New York State Department of Labor is now conducting its own investigation. They are looking into why the park's safety policies were not followed.

A funeral service for Sgt. James Hackemer is scheduled for 11am Thursday in Gowanda, NY.

It will take place at the Gowanda Assembly of God Church on Allen Street.