February 26, 2017
The Dover Police Department is mourning the loss of two police officers who were killed in an off-duty crash early Sunday morning.
Officials with the Delaware State Police said the crash occurred around 4 a.m. when 23-yeard-old Officer Robert E. DaFonte, of Hartly, lost control of his 2016 Jeep Wrangler while navigating a sharp right curve on Hazletville Road. The vehicle, also carrying 22-year-old Cedet James D. Watts, of Camden-Wyoming, traveled off the roadway down an embankment before striking a utility pole.
Investigators said the vehicle struck the pole on the driver's side, overturning and ejecting Watts, who was not properly restrained, before coming to a stop on the passenger's side. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the tragic loss of two members of the Dover Police Department family as the result of an early morning (off-duty) vehicle crash," said Deputy Chief Marvin Maile of the Dover Police Department. "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."
An accident investigation by the Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit remains ongoing.