Early morning crash kills two members of Dover Police force

 Dover Police Patrolman Robert DaFonte (left) and Cadet James Watts were killed when their Jeep overturned early Sunday morning. (photo courtesy Dover PD)

Dover Police Patrolman Robert DaFonte (left) and Cadet James Watts were killed when their Jeep overturned early Sunday morning. (photo courtesy Dover PD)

A Dover Police patrolman and a cadet were killed when the Jeep they were driving hit a utility pole early Sunday morning.

Patrolman Robert DaFonte was driving with Cadet James Watts just after 4 a.m. Sunday when their vehicle failed to negotiate a sharp curve along westbound Hazlettville Rd. and rolled down an embankment and hit a pole. Delaware State Police say Watts was ejected from the Jeep which continued to overturn.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. State Police say DaFonte had his seatbelt buckled, but Watts did not.

“Officer Robert DaFonte and Cadet James Watts were outstanding employees and were committed to serving the citizens of Dover,” said Dover PD Deputy Chief Marvin Mailey 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.”

DaFonte had been with the department for two years, while Watts was a six month member of the department’s Cadet Unit.

The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is still investigating the crash.

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