A little more than five years ago, 32-year-old New Milford resident Darren Drake was riding a bicycle along the West Side Highway when he was killed in a lone wolf terrorist attack inspired by ISIS.
Now President Joe Biden is preparing to sign the bipartisan Darren Drake Act sponsored by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) that will make it more difficult for domestic terrorists to obtain rental truck and other vehicles to use as a “weapon of war” by requiring the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a strategy that stops vehicular terrorist attack.
“Here in America, when we are threatened on our own soil, we can strike back. We must never give into the threat of extremism, and the Darren Drake Act is an example of what we can achieve as Americans when we come together to make positive change,” said Gottheimer. “There is nothing political or partisan about it. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation is an important addition to our arsenal as we continue to eradicate threats of terror at home and abroad.”
Gottheimer, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, was joined by Drake’s parent and with New Milford local officials and first responders for an announcement near the borough’s Darren Drake Memorial.
“What I choose to feel is that this is our Congressman’s early Christmas gift to the country,” said his father, Jimmie Drake. “It will be saving lives from terrorists and extremists and people that want to do nothing but hurt and kill.”
Barbara Drake, Darren’s mother, thanked Gottheimer for shepherding the bill through Congress and getting the Senate to support it.
“While it can’t bring Darren back, it’s something positive that has been created in the way of being able to see more information on the person who is renting a vehicle and in this way possibly saving lives,” she said.
Gottheimer said the Drakes have become close friends over the past few years while working on the legislation that will now become law.
“For never giving up one day over these last five years, despite how much they’ve been through. Despite the emotional, heart wrenching toll. Together, leaning on their strength, and the support of the Jersey community, we stood up to terrorism. We did it to help protect our families and our country.” Gottheimer said. “And most importantly, we did it for Darren — to honor his memory. America will be safer — and lives will be saved — because of Darren. Today is a loss for the terrorists, and a win for freedom and democracy.”