Vet thrown from coaster receives military funeral

August 15, 2011 - 12:44 PM
Roller Coaster Death

Col. Mark Spindler, left, presents a flag to John and Nancy Hackemer during the funeral service for their son, Staff Sgt. James T. Hackemer, at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011. Hackemer, who was an Iraq war veteran and an amputee, fell to his death while riding a roller coaster in July. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A double-amputee Iraq war veteran who was thrown to his death from a western New York roller coaster has been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

About 150 friends and relatives were at the historic Virginia cemetery Monday for Sgt. James Hackemer's military funeral.

At the solemn service, Hackemer's brigade commander presented a flag to Hackemer's parents, John and Nancy Hackemer of the western New York town of Gowanda.

The 29-year-old father of two, who had lost both legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq, died July 8 when he was flung from his seat on the Ride of Steel coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park. Hackemer wasn't wearing his prosthetic legs on the ride.

A wrongful death suit filed by Hackemer's family against the amusement park is pending.