Police: Alcohol May Have Been Factor in Crash that Killed Dover - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police: Alcohol May Have Been Factor in Crash that Killed Dover Police Officer, Cadet

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Hazlettville Road (Photo: WBOC) Hazlettville Road (Photo: WBOC)
Patrolman Robert DaFonte & Cadet James Watts (Photo credit: Dover Police Department) Patrolman Robert DaFonte & Cadet James Watts (Photo credit: Dover Police Department)

DOVER, Del. -- Amid work to make a notorious curve on Hazlettville Road safer, Delaware State Police on Thursday said alcohol may have been a factor in the February crash along the road that killed two off-duty members of the Dover Police Department.

M/Cpl. Gary Fournier, a state police spokesman, said alcohol may have been a factor on behalf of driver Robert DaFonte, 23, of Hartly, who died on Feb. 26 after a crash along Hazlettville Road in the area of Nault Road. 

James Watts, 22, of Camden-Wyoming, was a passenger in the vehicle and also died in the crash, police said.

Initially, police said there was no evidence at the scene to indicate drugs or alcohol may have been factors in the crash.

State police said the crash happened about 4:05 that morning when the 2016 Jeep Wrangler operated by DaFonte went off the sharp right curve on Hazlettville Road. 

The westbound vehicle went off the south side of the roadway and down an embankment before striking a utility pole with the driver's side door, police said.

The Jeep continued westbound and overturned, ejecting Watts, who was not properly restrained, before coming to a stop on the passenger side, police said.

Work also began recently to remove two utility poles along the curve, according to the Senate Minority Caucus.

Kim Stevenson, a spokeswoman for Senate Republicans, said in a news release that utilities like the Delaware Electric Co-Op and Verizon started work on May 31 to remove the two poles at the sharp curve. The wires would be buried under the ground.

Stevenson also said the Delaware Department of Transportation would work to regrade the roadside swale once the utilities' work was completed.

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