Theme Park Deaths
July 13, 2011 by staff
Theme Park Deaths, A double amputee veteran of Iraq, which was thrown from a roller coaster, rising to his death should never have been allowed on the trip, but park operators will face criminal charges despite park policy violation, authorities said Wednesday.
Signs in the roller coaster ride of steel roller Darien Lake Theme Park Resort & pilots clearly “should have two legs,” said Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha.
Sgt. James Hackemer died Friday when he was thrown from the last and the second highest of three hills in the mountains. He fell about 150 feet and landed in a grassy area in the park, which is between Rochester and Buffalo.
“He had the physical attributes to hold,” said Maha.
The researchers found no criminal activity, including the intention. However, tour operators, who were not identified, “knew” Hackemer should not have been traveling, but offered no explanation of why he made it.
“Darien Lake violated its own policies and procedures, by forwarding on the voyage,” said Maha.
A photograph taken automatically displays promotional college-age nephew Hackemer, Ashton Luffred, looking forward in the moments after the accident, his face expressionless and his hands on the safety bar in front of him. Authorities are not releasing the photo.
Maha said Luffred was in a state of shock after the accident but the police said Hackemer said nothing to indicate he was worried about the fall of the race.
Maha said park operators violated the policy clearly Hackemer leaving on the trip, but will not face criminal charges.
The liability could be determined later if a lawsuit is filed, he said. Hackemer relatives have said they have no theme park responsibly.
Maha said the State Labor Department is investigating the mechanics and safety of the race, but he indicated that the mountain was working.
Hackemer missing his entire left leg and most of his right leg and no prosthesis had when he was thrown from the ride. The father of 29 years of age, the two had lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008 and was on a family outing when the accident occurred.
A memorial service for Hackemer is scheduled for Thursday in his hometown of Gowanda. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The car stopped at the loading station to the lap bar and seatbelt remains, said Maha.
The ride remains closed pending the labor of the State Department probe.
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