Local News

Durham Officer Killed in Crash Remembered for Faith, Honor

Posted February 18, 2007
Updated February 19, 2007

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— Durham Police Officer Charles Callemyn died after crashing his squad car early Saturday while on his way to help another officer. Now, friends are remembering him as a man who served to protect the public and his country.

At the Durham Police Department, flags were flying at half-staff Sunday to honor one of its own.
Callemyn, 33, had been on the force for nearly two years when his car crashed into a highway underpass.

“He was a fine man, everyday man,” said neighbor Henry Cecil. “He'd do you a favor if he could and do you no harm.”

The man in uniform was also a man of faith. Callemyn attended Ebenezer Baptist Church in Hillsborough, where pastor Earl Echols said the news hit hard.

“It was just a very, very shocking thing to hear,” Echols said.

Echols says Callemyn's job defined him. He was a Duke University police officer before joining Durham's police force.

“He believed he had an important role in taking care and providing protection for people, and felt in his heart that's what his calling was,” Echols said.

Callemyn also answered the call to serve his country in both the United States Marine Corps and the Army Reserves. After a tour of duty in Afghanistan, Callemyn presented the church with a flag that flew over Bagram Air Force Base for nine hours and 11 minutes. It sits alongside special plaques in a display case at the church.

“For us, basically, to remember the sacrifice he and other military men and women for the well-being for the country and for the world,” Echols said.

Durham has lost eight officers in the line of duty since 1913. Three were shot to death, two died in motorcycle accidents, one had a heart attack on the job, and one was listed as accidental. Callemyn was the only one to die in a car wreck.

A wake for Callemyn will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at Hudson Funeral Home, located on Miami Boulevard in Durham. A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Creedmoor.

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  • familyfriend Feb 21, 2007

    Charles was a great man who served his fellow man with pride. He will be missed by all who knew him.

  • doughboy Feb 19, 2007

    May God be with his family in this time of need.

  • cw12079 Feb 19, 2007

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this difficult time. May he rest in peace and may he watch down over us and continue to protect us and keep us out of harms way. thank you for all the years of service and dedication to our profession and military service.

  • lovemydawgs4 Feb 19, 2007

    May God be with the family at this time of sorrow ...

  • redhead28713 Feb 19, 2007

    he was good friend and he will be missed..redhead

  • outraged3 Feb 19, 2007

    Thoughts and prayers

  • redwarrior Feb 19, 2007

    A man dedicated to serving. May he rest in peace.

  • chunky23 Feb 19, 2007

    I went to high school and graduated with Charles. He was an outstanding person and a good friend. The news of his death hit us all hard. RIP, my friend.

  • spiritwarriorwoman Feb 19, 2007

    Praying for his loved ones, of which, it seems, he had many.
    God bless.
    Rev. RB

  • this is my Screen Name Feb 19, 2007

    I'm so very sorry to hear of his death. His family will remember him as a man who served his country, his state, his city, but most of all, His God. My prayers are with them.