NEW MILFORD — Bipartisan legislation aimed at ending lone terror was passed Friday, more than five years after the attack that killed his namesake, Darren Drake, and seven others in New York.
The Darren Drake Act, named after the 32-year-old town resident, was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of a national defense bill that sets Pentagon policy and authorizes $857.9 billion in military spending.
The law was initiated by Congressman Josh Gottheimer, 47, a Democrat who represents the 5th District in the state Congress. It directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to develop best practices for rental car agencies to report suspicious behavior at retail locations to law enforcement to prevent vehicles from being used as weapons of war.
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The congressman called it “common sense legislation” and a key part of the nation’s arsenal for eradicating terrorist threats.
“Today is a loss for terrorists,” the congressman said, “and a victory for freedom and democracy.”
Darren was fatally injured on Halloween 2017 when Saifula Saipov, 34, a citizen of Uzbekistan from Paterson, was allegedly driving a rented pickup truck on a trail near the Hudson River.
Darren was cycling along the trail during a break from his job as a project manager at Moody’s Investors Service when the attack occurred.
Gottheimer met with Darren’s parents, Barbara and James Drake, at a news conference on a lawn in the New Milford neighborhood on Wednesday to announce the long-awaited signing into law. Local elected officials, including Mayor Michael Putrino, and first responders were also in attendance.
James Drake called the law “an early Christmas present to the country,” adding that it would save lives from “people who want to do nothing but hurt and kill.”
In the years since the attack, the Drakes have honored their son by unveiling a monument on his birthday at City Hall and creating a foundation that provides scholarships to those pursuing careers in the skilled trades.
Philip Devencentis is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to your local community’s most important news, sign up or activate your digital account today.