Clayton police chief on leave pleads not guilty in drunken driving case

 

DOVER — A northern Kent County police chief pleaded not guilty Thursday to a drunken driving charge following a traffic stop on Aug. 12 near Smyrna.

The case of Clayton Police Chief Brian C. Hill was accepted in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas and a case review scheduled for Nov. 29.

Chief Hill was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to maintain a single lane on Sunnyside Road after being stopped by a Delaware State Police trooper just after 10 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Clayton Mayor David Letterman and town council voted unanimously to place Chief Hill on paid administrative leave on Aug. 29 and Lt. Carl Hutson was named acting chief. Chief Hill makes $80,828.80 annually, according to town records.

The citation was initially sent to New Castle County Court of Common Pleas for an initial appearance, but moved to Kent County due to an errant location listed on the ticket by a trooper. An alleged blood alcohol concentration of 0.016 was first listed in papers by police, then amended to 0.16 by authorities who declined further comment when questioned by the Delaware State News. The minimum threshold for drunken driving in Delaware is 0.08.

While the stop was made on Aug. 12, Mayor Letterman did not learn of the alleged incident until the night of Aug. 16 after being contacted by media earlier in the day. The mayor would not say whether he first contacted Chief Hill or vice versa regarding the stop.

When contacted by a reporter on Aug. 16, State Police confirmed charges against a Brian C. Hill, 47, of Dover, but cited policy and would not disclose his employer.

Chief Hill declined earlier media requests for comment.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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