Darren Drake, a 32-year-old project manager for Moody’s Investors Service at the World Trade Center, had recently lost 93 pounds after undergoing lap band surgery. He was out for a bike ride between meetings when the truck hit and killed him.
“While other people would take cigarette or coffee breaks, he would go out and ride the bike for 15 to 20 minutes,” his father, James Drake, told NJ.com.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Rutgers University in 2007 and a master’s degree in business administration in 2011 from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was working toward a second master’s degree, at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Drake was civic-minded. Even while serving on the New Milford school board, he ran on a Republican slate for the city council in 2011 and was narrowly defeated. One of his running mates, Celeste Scavetta-Homaychak, told NorthJersey.com, “He was a very sweet man, who wouldn’t harm a fly.”
Just before that council election, Drake stressed that he favored a nonpartisan approach to local politics.
“There’s no Democratic or Republican way to fill a pothole,” he told the New Milford Patch.
James Drake told NorthJersey.com that he drove Darren every day to the train terminal in suburban Hoboken so he could commute to his job in the city.
In fact, his father said, Darren may well have escaped death or injury in September 2016 when a train crashed at Hoboken Terminal, killing one person and injuring dozens of others.
That day, a crossing guard had stopped their car to help schoolchildren cross a street. The delay caused Darren to miss the accident at the station.
“It was a matter of 30 seconds,” his father said.
Upset, Darren immediately called his father to pick him up and take him back home.