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UPDATE: 11:25PM by Geoff Redick
The victim in a horrific Friday afternoon accident at Darien Lake Theme Park was reportedly an Iraq veteran who had lost both of his legs in the war.

According to Genesee County Sheriff's Sergeant Greg Walker, 29-year-old James Hekemer of Gowanda had sustained amputations to each of his legs - one below the knee, and the other at his hip. At the time of the accident, he was not wearing prosthetic legs

Hekemer was a passenger on "The Ride of Steel," formerly "Superman: Ride of Steel," at Darien Lake Theme Park this afternoon. He was sitting in the very front seat of the first car on the ride. At about 5:30pm, Hekemer was ejected from the rollercoaster on the second large hill. The rollercoaster was traveling approximately 50mph at the time of the incident. Hekemer fell an unknown distance and sustained fatal injuries upon impact.

"The Ride of Steel" is outfitted with two types of restraint in each seat: a lap bar, and a lap-only seatbelt. There is no shoulder harness and no other type of bodily restraint built into the ride.

Deputies Friday evening said that Hekemer was attending the park with his children and several sisters. He was sitting with one of those family members in the front of the ride when he was ejected. The other family member was not injured, nor were any of the other riders on "The Ride of Steel." The ride was immediately shut down and will remain so for an undisclosed amount of time.

Sheriff's Department investigations wrapped up late this evening, and are expected to continue tomorrow.

Park officials did not comment this evening, and referred nearly all questions to the Sheriff's Office representatives. They say more information will be available from the Park within the next few days. Darien Lake Theme Park remains open on its regular schedule.

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Comments

# michelle
Saturday, July 09, 2011 12:11 AM
who let's a man with no legs on a roller coaster? C'mon
# Steve
Saturday, July 09, 2011 9:04 AM
Are you kidding me?! They let a double leg amputee on that ride?! No wonder he flew out! Come on people get some common sense!!!!!!!!
# Geoff Redick
Saturday, July 09, 2011 10:02 AM
"Steve" and "michelle," your comments have been added to our current, updated story
# Chelsea
Monday, July 11, 2011 2:39 AM
omg & in the very front seat! this is horrible
# Chelsea
Monday, July 11, 2011 2:43 AM
Godarienlake.com says underneath "ride of steel" Guests who are 76″ and above or with certain body
proportions may not be able to ride.



# Tim
Sunday, July 31, 2011 4:51 PM
Seriously.....you people are asking "who lets an amputee on a rollercoaster"????? I ask who in thir right mind would board a rollercoaster, with LAP RESTRAINTS when they have no LAP?????

Of course the park let him on.....what company, or person for that matter, would refuse, just to be sued for DISCRIMINATION......

I dont mean to be insensitive, I have children, and when i heard this gentlemen had children, my heart broke for them, just as it breaks for his family, friends, the thousands of innocent people who saw this incident and anyone else affected by this accident.

HOWEVER, the majority of responses I have read on this site and many others question the common sense of the ATTENDANT and the PARK...... Quite honestly, in my opinion, shouldn't this gentlemen have had just as much responsibility to show some common sense as anyone else involved.... I mean if you had no legs, would you get on a ride that held you in by your legs????
# Jenn
Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:51 PM
OMG you people are retarded. You are only getting HALF the story! This man INSISTED on going on this ride, played up the fact that he was an ex army vet. The attendants didnt want to let him on, but he convinced them to do so! Witnesses also stated that this man was trying to willing himself out of his restraints before he did so successfully!!!! Are you also aware that this man tried to commit suicide MULTIPLE times before with the last one just months prior???? Have you ever thought about why this man did this?? He committed suicide by using a ride that he knew he could get out of! In front of his own family and kids, and the hundreds of all innocent bystanders who had to witness his suicide!. But he made sure that financially his family will be set because they will now sue the park and make millions! Love how the media "forgets" to mention these FACTS!
# Geoff Redick
Friday, August 19, 2011 11:33 PM
"Jenn"--

If you're able to provide such testimony or point the "forgetful" media in the proper direction, we encourage you to do so.

No outlet has substantiated any of the claims you are making, and almost no true and proven witnesses have come forward since the accident.

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