NEW MILFORD, N.J. -- The parents of a New Milford man killed in last month’s lower Manhattan terror attack filed a notice of intent Tuesday to sue the City of New York, among others, for “creating and maintaining a hazardous condition" on the pedestrian and bike path along the West Side Highway.
Darren Drake, 32, was among those mowed down on the path by a rented truck driven by as Sayfullo Saipov of Paterson on Oct. 31 because the city and its related agencies failed to take the necessary steps to protect them, Barbara and James Drake contend in their notice of a wrongful-death claim.
“The manner in which the claim arose was that [the] vehicle was permitted, allowed and able to enter the bike path,” says the notice, filed with the city Comptroller’s Office and the Hudson River Park Trust, both in lower Manhattan, by attorney Rosemarie Arnold of Fort Lee.
“The public reasonably believed…and relied on the fact that [the path] would be free from vehicular traffic,” the notice says.
However, it says, the city, its Parks and Recreation and Transportation departments, along with the Hudson Trust, put the victims in harm’s way by, among other things, refusing or failing to:
- “apprehend and comprehend an imminent, dangerous, hazardous and perilous situation”;
- “recognize that the vicinity of West Houston Street/the West Side Highway was a frequent and busy access point to the bike path where cars could and often did turn onto”;
- “protect invitees, such as pedestrians and bicyclists…from foreseeable harm”;
- “follow recommended steps to improve and/or implement public safety issues on the bike path, which existed for a long period of time”;
- “install barriers and/or bollards and/or metal poles and/or other safety devices to warn of the presence of…or block vehicles from gaining access to the bike path”;
- “close unnecessary driveways where motorists were known to enter on to the bike path from the West Side Highway”;
- “properly monitor surveillance cameras”;
- “employ adequately skilled personnel to safeguard, maintain, manage, control, inspect, oversee and/or supervise all of those involved with the area where this incident occurred.”
A project manager at Moody's Investors Service at the World Trade Center, Drake often rode his bike for exercise during lunch, loved ones said.
Seven other victims were killed and more than a dozen injured by Saipov, who was shot by police and taken into custody after he rammed the truck -- rented from a Home Depot in Passaic -- into a school bus at Chambers Street.
Six men, including Drake, were pronounced dead at the scene. Two other victims were pronounced at an area hospital, the NYPD said.
Authorities should have taken into account “the recent stream of terrorists using vehicles as weapons,” the “reasonably foreseeable probability of people using cars as weapons,” and prepared for “foreseeable” terrorism in downtown Manhattan, the notice filed by Drake's parents says.
They and their son’s estate are seeking an unspecified amount of damages that include, but aren’t limited to, the “extensive trauma and significant disfigurement” he sustained, the funeral, burial and other associated expenses and the “loss of [his] services and society."
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