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Family of Iraq veteran who died in rollercoaster accident file wrongful death suit

The family of a 29-year-old Iraq War veteran who was killed in a rollercoaster accident has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the amusement park where the rollercoaster is located. The deceased war veteran's loved ones say the 29-year-old was incorrectly allowed to board the Ride of Steel rollercoaster because the veteran did not have any legs. Improper employee training led to the unnecessary death according to the attorney of the family.

The Army sergeant lost both of his legs and a hip in 2008 during a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq. The veteran endured months of treatment and rehabilitation and declared that he wanted to live life to the fullest in a television interview. On July 8, the 29-year-old veteran boarded the 208-foot-high Ride of Steel rollercoaster at the Darien Lake amusement park near Buffalo, New York. As the rollercoaster screamed down the last hill of the ride, the 29-year-old fell out of the front rollercoaster car.

The attorney for the veteran's family says the amusement employees in charge of the Ride of Steel were not properly trained on safety rules and park employees violated the amusement park's own safety rules when the 29-year-old veteran was allowed to ride the rollercoaster.

The Labor Department of New York investigated the rollercoaster accident two weeks after the tragic incident and found that an "operator error" was a factor in the death. Officials with the state Labor Department then cited the amusement park for two violations regarding improper safety training for the rollercoaster.

Source: buffalonews.com, "Hackemer family files wrongful death suit," July 30, 2011

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