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Sheriff: No criminal charges to be brought in legless veteran's NY roller coaster death
BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) ' No criminal charges will be brought in the death of a legless Iraq war veteran who was thrown from a roller coaster at a western New York theme park last week, the county sheriff said Wednesday.
Sgt. James Hackemer died Friday when he was thrown from the Ride of Steel coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park & Resort, between Rochester and Buffalo.
Hackemer, a 29-year-old father of two, had lost both his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2008 and was on a family outing when the accident happened.
The state Labor Department, which enforces amusement ride safety in New York, is also investigating Hackemer's death.
Rules on Darien Lake's website say riders must be 54 inches or taller to board the Ride of Steel. They don't specify whether riders must have both legs, as do rules for some other coasters in the park.
Hackemer was missing all of his left leg and most of his right leg and was not wearing prosthetic limbs when he was thrown from the ride.
A funeral service for Hackemer is planned for Thursday in his hometown of Gowanda. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha made the announcement about no charges. Hackemer's relatives have said they do not hold the theme park responsible.