Two members of Dover police killed in car crash

Robert DaFonte

DOVER — Two members of the Dover Police Department were killed in a single-vehicle car crash early Sunday morning.

Robert E. DaFonte, a 23-year-old Hartly resident, was driving a 2016 Jeep Wrangler west on Hazlettville Road around 4:05 a.m. when he lost control as the car went around a sharp curve. The vehicle went off the road and traveled down an embankment on the road’s south side.

The driver’s side door hit a utility pole, and the car continued westbound, overturning and ejecting 22 year-old passenger James D. Watts, of Camden-Wyoming.


Mr. DaFonte was wearing his seatbelt, while Mr. Watts was not properly restrained.

Both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr. DaFonte was a patrolman with the Dover Police Department, while Mr. Watts was a cadet with the agency.

James Watts

“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,” Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey said in a statement. “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.”

Mr. DaFonte had been with the department for two years, while Mr. Watts was a six-month member.

Hazlettville Road between Apple Grove School Road and Nault Road was closed for approximately three hours while the crash was cleared.


Delaware State Police is investigating the incident.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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