The family of 32-year-old Darren Drake, who was one of eight people killed in the Manhattan terror attack on Halloween, filed a notice of claim intending to sue the City of New York on Tuesday.
James and Barbara Drake, of New Milford, New Jersey, are seeking unspecified monetary damages from the city, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation and the Hudson River Park Trust, which is a partnership between the city and the state.
“There were no barriers up to prevent a vehicle from entering the bike path. This is despite the fact the city and state agencies had ample notice that vehicles had entered the bike path on numerous occasions in the past,” Paige Butler, head attorney for the case, said on Wednesday. “These agencies owned and operated the area, and had a duty to take precautions, such as barriers, to protect persons such as Darren Drake.”
Drake and seven others were killed when Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbek immigrant, drove a rented pickup truck onto the West Street bike path in lower Manhattan on the afternoon of Oct. 31, authorities said. He was shot by NYPD Officer Ryan Nash soon after he exited the truck, and was taken to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue for surgery and later charged. Handwritten notes that said, “The Islamic State would endure forever,” were found near the crash scene, according to police.
Officials said that Saipov had attacked “in the name of ISIS” and was “radicalized domestically.” He was indicted by a federal grand jury on murder and terrorism charges on Tuesday.
The attack spurred discussions about the safety of the bike path, which led to renewed calls for more bollards and barriers blocking vehicles from accessing it.
The notice of claim filed by Drake’s parents deems the lack of safety measures a “grossly negligent” practice on the part of the government. The city failed to warn pedestrians and bicyclists of the danger of traveling on the bike path; failed to take precautions against the occurrence of such an event; and did not ensure a reasonably safe environment for people in the vicinity, according to the notice.
Drake, who was riding a Citi Bike when he was struck, was “a very intelligent, sincere, down-to-earth, fun-loving, open-to-challenges intellectual,” his father said a day after the attack.
His parents are asking to be compensated for the injury and trauma suffered by their son, his future loss of earnings, the funeral and burial costs for him, as well as any other loss they have incurred because of his death.
“This was a very tragic incident and the city will review the notice of claim,” a spokesman from the city’s Law Department said, on behalf of the Department of Transportation.
Another defendant in the case, Hudson River Park Trust, declined to comment.