Local News

Durham Officer Killed in Crash Remembered for Faith, Honor

Posted February 18, 2007 4:29 p.m. EST
Updated February 19, 2007 9:40 a.m. EST

— 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.