NEW MILFORD, N.J. (PIX11) — Family and friends gathered Sunday to celebrate the life of Darren Drake in his hometown of New Milford, New Jersey.
Drake was among the eight people killed on Halloween Day 2017, when Sayfullo Saipov purposely drove a rented truck onto the West Side bike path in Manhattan. Drake, then 32, was out riding his bike.
Since his death, James and Barbara Drake have worked tirelessly to pass legislation preventing future lone-wolf terrorist attacks. They also established The Darren Drake Foundation, which provides scholarships for students attending trade schools.
“He always thought that there was not enough opportunity for his classmates who didn’t want to go to college but wanted to go to trade school,” said Darren’s mother, Barbara Drake.
In December, President Joe Biden signed into law The Darren Drake Act, sponsored by New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer. The legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security to create guidelines for car rental companies to report suspicious activity to police, at the point of purchase. It is designed to prevent people like Saipov from using vehicles as deadly weapons.
“This law in Darren’s name is the law of the land and protects others from terror and keeps our country safer,” said Gottheimer.
“This bill wouldn’t have happened without Jimmy and Barbara,” said Gottheimer. “We sat in my office figuring out how to make sure this never happens again to any other family.”
In February, a jury found Saipov guilty of carrying out the attack. He now awaits sentencing and will either receive the death penalty or life in prison.
“I just want to see them come to a decision,” said James Drake.