Reports: Dover Police Have Lost Two Officers

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Dover – It is with great sadness that the Dover Police Department announces the deaths of two of their members. Patrolman Robert DaFonte, a two-year-veteran of the Dover Police Department, and Cadet James Watts, a 6-month member of the Special Enforcement Cadet Unit died in an early morning vehicle crash in the area of Hazletville Road and Nault Road, the Dover Police said in a statment released Sunday morning.

Patrolman Robert DaFonte
Patrolman Robert DaFonte

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the tragic loss of two members of the Dover Police Department family. Officer Robert DaFonte and Cadet James Watts were outstanding employees and were committed to serving the citizens of Dover.

As we mourn the loss of our fellow officer and cadet, we ask the community to keep their families and the members of the Dover Police Department in your thoughts said Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey.

Dover’s Mayor, Robin R. Christiansen, said that he and Council are devastated by the loss of these two fine young men. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families, friends and their fellow officers. May God bless them and keep them close to his heart.”

Cadet James Watts
Cadet James Watts

West Dover – The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is investigating a single vehicle fatal crash that claimed the life of two people early this morning, according to Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Gary Fournier.

Fournier said that the preliminary investigation suggests the incident occurred around 4:05 a.m., Sunday February 26, 2017, as Robert E. DaFonte, 23 of Hartly, was operating a 2016 Jeep Wrangler westbound on Hazlettville Road, east of Nault Road approaching a sharp right curve.

The operator failed to negotiate the curve and traveled off the south side of the roadway down an embankment and struck a utility pole with the driver’s side door. The Jeep continued westbound overturning and ejecting the right front passenger before coming to a stop on the passenger side.

Robert DaFonte was properly restrained and was pronounced dead at the scene.

James D. Watts, 22 of Camden-Wyoming, who was seated in the right front passenger’s seat, was not properly restrained and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit is continuing their investigation into this incident. Hazlettville Road between Apple Grove School Road and Nault Road was closed for approximately three hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.

Original Release

DOVER-POLICE-BADGEDover – The Dover Police Department has lost two of it’s officers according to a Tweet sent out this morning. No further details are available at this time.

The University of Delaware Police Department sent a Tweet offering prayers to the Dover Police Department for two officers this morning.

https://twitter.com/udelpolice/status/835860897004417024

Our hearts go out to the Dover Police Department as they mourn the loss of two members of Dover PD. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

— UDel Police Dept (@udelpolice) February 26, 2017

The tweet has since been deleted.

First State Update spoke to Dover Police Public Information Officer, M/Cpl. Mark Hoffman this morning. Hoffman would not confirm nor deny any of the details. He did say that more details would be available soon.

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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