Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

GARDINER—An off-duty Orange County police officer died Tuesday morning when the motorcycle he was driving collided with a car on Route 44-55, according to Walden police.

Off-Duty Walden Police Officer Dies in Motorcycle Crash

Investigator Dustin James. Photo provided by Walden Police Department.

Dustin James, 31, of Middletown, was a full-time officer at the Walden Police Department and part-time officer at the Village of Montgomery Police Department, said Walden Police Sgt. Eric Metzger.

According to the preliminary investigation by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened at the intersection of Bruynswick Road and Route 44-55 at 10:50 a.m.

James, who was driving a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle, collided with a 2011 Toyota Camry driven by Alejandra Rodas-Perez, 19, of Bloomingburg, authorities said.

The officer was transported by ambulance to MidHudson Regional Hospital and died from the injuries he sustained.

Ulster County Sheriff’s detectives and the state police Collision Reconstruction Unit continue to investigate.

The road where the accident occurred remained closed well into the afternoon while the investigation was underway.

James joined the Walden force on Jan. 1, 2007, as a part-time dispatcher. Seven months later, he was hired as a part-time officer. James became full-time in October 2009.

He joined the Village of Montgomery Police Department in December 2015.

“Officer James was an exceptional police officer that excelled at his job,” Metzger said.

“His many contributions to both departments are too numerous to list. He had compassion for others, a sense of humor and an attention to detail. Officer James was loved by all who had the pleasure to know him and work with him over the years. There was nothing that Officer James would not do for his fellow brother or sister. Officer James will be deeply missed by his family and friends here at the Village of Walden and Village of Montgomery Police Departments.”

Metzger said James was posthumously promoted to the rank of investigator at the Walden department.

He is survived by his wife, Maryellen.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


  1. Dr. Edwin J. Metzger

    Dustin was an exemplary officer. I never heard a bad word about him. He will be missed and remembered. This is so sad.

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