New Jersey

Final Goodbyes for New Jersey Man Killed in NYC Truck Rampage

The New Jersey man who was among eight people killed in a truck driver's rampage on a Manhattan bike path is being mourned at his childhood church. 

Hundreds of people were attending funeral services at the Church of the Ascension in New Milford for Darren Drake, remembered as an exceptional young man who lived to serve his community. 

The 32-year-old project manager for Moody's Investors Service at the World Trade Center was out for a bike ride between meetings Tuesday when the truck, allegedly driven by Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, hit and killed him.

The funeral procession for Drake wound its way to the front of the church as one lone bagpiper played a mournful song. He'll be buried later Monday next to his grandparents. 

"At such a young age, 32. He had so much to give, so much life, he made his parents so happy," said mourner Kathy Perino, who worked with him. "He always had a smile, he was a perfect person to ever work with." 

"I just can't believe what a tragedy this is," said family friend Vincent Wymbs. "He was a great kid -- fantastic, the nicest, he did everything he could for other kids."  

Drake, a graduate of Rutgers pursuing a second master's at Stevens Institute of Technology, also served four years on the New Milford Board of Education, holding the vice president chair for two of them. He didn't yet have children of his own, but was hoping to one day.

Drake had recently undergone weight loss surgery and was riding his bike 25-plus miles a day to stay fit, his father says. An only child, he lived with his parents; his father said he drove him to the Hoboken train station each morning. 

Jimmy said he will give his son's bike to charity, and his own, too, now that his only child is gone.

Drake had cheated death before, missing the Hoboken train crash last year by just minutes and staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel just weeks before the Las Vegas massacre.

At Drake's wake on Saturday, Darren's father, Jimmy Drake, addressed reporters, calling his son a great person who would brighten people's days. He compared him to the late actor John Candy, saying he was cheerful and fun. 

"If it was a cloudy day, it would become sunny when he showed up,” Jimmy Drake said. “He was just that kind of a kid."

Seven other people died in last week's terror attack in Tribeca. Five Argentinians celebrating a graduation anniversary, a 31-year-old Belgian national, Anne Laure Decadt, and Nicholas Cleves, of Manhattan. Six of the victims died at the scene; the other two died at hospitals.

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