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Dover Police Mourn the Loss of Two Members 2-26-17

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.  “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.  We have attached a copy of the press release from the Delaware State Police who are handling the investigation.  All media inquiries regarding the investigation should be directed to the Delaware State Police Public Information Office. 

Patrolman Robert DaFonte
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.

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.

Released: 022617 1100