NEW MILFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A grief-stricken community is saying goodbye to one of the eight people killed in Tuesday’s terror attack in Lower Manhattan.
A wake was held in Bergen County Saturday afternoon for 32-year-old Darren Drake, who would have been celebrating his 33rd birthday soon. Instead, his family and friends remembered his life at Boulevard Funeral Home.
“He was perhaps one of the most decent American young kids that our country has ever seen,” Drake’s father, Jimmy, said. “I mean, decent kid.”
Darren was mowed down Tuesday afternoon as he rode his bike along Manhattan’s West Side.
“He had everything going for him, everything in the world you can imagine,” Jimmy Drake, said earlier this week of a young life with years ahead, now gone. “I think I’d rather have every tooth pulled out without any Novocaine than go through this.”
Police say 29-year-old terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov plowed his rental pickup truck into pedestrians, killing eight.
“As the day came along, no Darren,” Jimmy Drake recalled. “We called his cell phone, dead. His office phone, answering machine.”
Parental instinct told Drake and his wife to drive to Bellevue Hospital, where they had to identify their son’s body.
“At that moment I just lost it,” Jimmy said. “You see the child you loved for 33 years.”
On Saturday, Jimmy Drake told WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp that he and his wife Barbara have seen a huge showing of support in their hometown, where many residents have lowered their flags.
“We’re at war. And if a person has to die because of a war, you would hope that it was in an engagement where my son would be armed to protect himself,” he said.
23-year-old Nicholas Cleves of Greenwich Village was also killed, along with a Belgian mother of two, 31-year-old Anne-Laure Decadt, and five Argentinian friends on a high school reunion trip.
The five surviving friends spoke for the first time at a press conference Friday night.
“It’s a dream that has transformed into the worst nightmare,” one of the men said in Spanish. They went on to say it’s indescribable what they experienced, that they survived but had to watch their friends die.
The wake for Drake was held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
Twelve people were also injured in the attack Tuesday.