BUFFALO, NY-- Following the tragic death of Army Sgt. James Hackemer on the "Ride of Steel" roller coaster at Darien Lake, 2 On Your Side sent a FOIA request to New York State requesting copies of the state's inspection reports for the ride.
The state responded Tuesday and forwarded inspection records for the past three years to 2 On Your Side. The state also included a copy of the accident report following their investigating of the Hackemer accident.
The report states that an hour and a half before Sgt. Hackemer died, he went to Guest Services inside the Darien Lake Theme Park and inquired about boarding procedures for disabled riders. The report states that procedures were explained to Hackemer but that he was also given a brochure titled "A Guide to Fun at the Park for Guests with Disabilities". The report states that Hackemer refused the brochure stating that he already had a copy.
The report also states that during the investigation, the The New York State Department of Labor requested copies of the novelty souvenir photos taken during the roller coaster ride but it's unclear if Sgt. Hackemer was seen in those photos.
You can read the reports below.
Sgt. Hackemer, a double amputee injured in Iraq, was thrown from the ride and killed instantly. Hackemer was laid to rest on Monday in Arlington National Cemetery.
Governor Cuomo's office recently confirmed that the Department of Labor is in the final stages of creating an online database that will allow New Yorkers to search inspection violations for amusement rides.
Click on the video link above to see Marissa Bailey's report edited by photojournalist John Guinane.