Questions about safety and judgment surround fatal accident at Darien Lake

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Questions continue to be raised about the wisdom of letting double amputee James T. Hackemer get on one of Darien Lake amusement park’s tallest and fastest roller coasters, from which the Iraq War veteran fell to his death Friday. A local psychiatric nurse who has worked for years with veterans thinks that more caution should be used by wounded vets wanting to reclaim their lives.

Read more from The Buffalo News.

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This is my first time chiming in on this discussion, but I just wanted to say that Nurse Sharon McGrath is a lonely and correct voice crying out in the wilderness. If you go through what Hackemer went through and lose what he lost, chances are you just ain't gonna be able to do all the things you used to enjoy before that.

The amusement park rises bold and are huddled on the beach in a mist

DaveStroem's avatar

I just sent Markey the following message. I encourage others that are concerned about his agenda to do the same.

I find your using the recent accident at Darien Lake to push your political agenda to be disgusting and ignorant.

Federal oversight would not have saved this man. Poor judgement by both the park employees and Sgt Hackemer were to blame for the accident.

There were rules in place that were not followed. There is a sign prominently posted that states that you must have 2 legs to ride. You can not expect a lap bar to restrain a man that has no lap. Adding other restraint systems might have allowed him to ride, but the point is he and the park did not follow the established rules.

Your also making huge assumptions that the states can not handle the responsibilities of ride inspections and investigations.

If you haven't checked lately we have a massive deficit and don't need to add more to it when the states are handling this area well.

You can not regulate common sense or stupidity. But I guess you can be elected with a lack of the first and an abundance of the second.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

mlnem4s's avatar

I think the vast majority of amusement parks work really hard to do everything possible to include guests with disabilities and it is an important part of the business strategy. Obviously there are always going to be limitations, as in this instance, and as much as anyone who is a theme park operator or enthusiast wants everyone to be able to enjoy rides there are going to be those that are simply off limits. Those limitations are spelled out in detail at ride entrances and it is part of a guests' responsibility to know their limitations and check the requirements. No amount of government involvement would stop incidents like this when a guest makes poor choices, as sad as it may turn out to be.

If there was ever one area of improvement that I would support it would be requiring ride operators to be 18 years of age. I just feel that an 18 year old has a little bit more life experience under their belt to be handling situations with guests while operating complicated machinery. Some parks do this but I don't think it is the majority.

Jeff's avatar

Markey is an opportunistic douche bag. The timing of his rhetoric is again in poor taste. I also didn't care for the way he was all over the Lassiters after their daughter lost her foot on the Kentucky Kingdom ride a couple of years ago.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I wouldn't be surprised if Markey stops reading after the 1st paragrapgh. Personally attacking and insulting him is not going to get you anywhere. Making an objective point, and sticking to your argument in a professional and respectful manner will always get you farther.

...and no, I do not support federal oversight of amusement rides and devices....

Tekwardo's avatar

Yeah, I'm sure Markey will read that, take it to heart, and completely change course.

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Congressmen/women don't read their own mail as it comes in. They have interns that go through it and determine whether or not is worthy of being put in the personal in basket. So it's likely he'll never see this one to begin with.

DaveStroem's avatar

LOL to think that Markey would ever read any messages that he receives. My expectations are not that high.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

If you want an elected official to read anything you write, send a traditional letter instead of an email. I have watched staff assistants sit at a computer hitting delete, delete, delete over and over again for their elected bosses.

If you REALLY want a good chance to have your letter read, hand write it instead of typing it. A stamped envelope or a hand written letter is so few and far between that they tend to garner more attention. (It also helps if you live in that politicians voting district.)

As for Markey? Bonehead.

Whats worse than Markey to me is Media like George Stephosyphyliss begging for more Govt oversight

What does the Texas Giant part have to do with roller coaster safety? Did I miss somethIng in that video? To me it just looked like a mechanical problem that resulted in a walk down.

Pete's avatar

LOL, a lift evac on Texas Giant made that bit. I'm glad all the riders "climbed to safety"!

I'd rather be in my boat with a drink on the rocks, than in the drink with a boat on the rocks.

Lord Gonchar said:
Sigh. Here we go.

They should follow this story up with how dangerous Dihydrogen Monoxide is.

Hey, if you inhale too much of that stuff, it can kill, and fast. Even a large quantity imbibed over a short period of time can result in a fatality...

My author website:

But it can be life saving too.

When frozen and put in a bathtub, it'll keep you alive even without kidneys. Though you should call a doctor rather quickly.


Im surprised how overall positive/pro roller coaster the comment section of that video was, it seems that most people have more problems with the video/news report(if you can even call it that) in comparison to anything roller coaster related.

Bolliger/Mabillard for President in '08 NOT Dinn/Summers

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