Dover Mourns Two Police Department Staff Members

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Dover Mourns Two Police Department Staff Members

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Dover Patrolman Robert DaFonte and Cadet James Watts were honored Monday night

during a vigil outside the police department, just one day after both were killed in a crash west of the city.

Both DaFonte, 23, and Watts, 22, died in a crash along Hazlettville Road about 4 a.m. Sunday. The pair were remembered by co-workers, family, and friends during the vigil.

"If he could see everyone who is out here for him, it would mean the world," said Patrolman Anthony Smith, who spoke during the vigil.

Dave Gist, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #15, said DaFonte and Watts were up and coming members of the department who had their whole lives ahead of them, which made their deaths particularly sad.

"We don't get to see it often here in Dover and even though it wasn't a line of duty death that doesn't make it any easier," he said.

Cpl. Gary Fournier, a Delaware State Police spokesman, said there was no evidence at the scene to suggest alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, though a toxicology report was being conducted by the Delaware Division of Forensic Sciences.

Eight crashes have occurred in the area, according to state police. Two of them, including Sunday's crash were fatal.

Although there are some questions about the circumstances of the crash, Gist said it was still a tragic loss of life.

"We're a close-knit bunch so it hits us pretty hard," he said.