Dalonte Hill

Terps assistant Dalonte Hill (left) and head coach Mark Turgeon oversee a practice. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / October 20, 2011)

A Howard County police spokeswoman said Wednesday that Maryland men's basketball assistant coach Dalonte Hill crashed his vehicle into a wooden electrical pole Sunday night outside a North Laurel restaurant. The incident eventually led to Hill being charged with drunken driving and taking a leave of absence from his job Tuesday.

According to Sherry Llewellyn, Hill was questioned by an officer who was on duty in the vicinity of the Bottom of the Bay Seafood restaurant when she saw his truck hit the pole. The officer said that after talking with Hill, she smelled alcohol on his breath and observed other signs that he had been drinking.

Hill, 34, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, as well as failing to control a vehicle in order to avoid an accident. It was the third drunk driving charge against Hill in the past five years, and his second in 21 months. Hill has been ordered to appear in Howard County District Court on Jan. 17 at 9 a.m.

There is no indication on the Howard County police report that a field sobriety test was administered Sunday night. According to police, Hill was given a discretionary release, meaning that he was not arrested. When a person refuses to take a sobriety test, a charge of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is usually applied, Llewellyn said.

At the time of his first arrest in 2008, Hill was working at Kansas State. The record of that arrest was expunged after Hill reportedly took part in a driving education class.

After coming to Maryland in 2011 to join Mark Turgeon’s first staff in College Park, Hill was arrested for driving under the influence and other driving violations in Anne Arundel County in January of 2012. He pleaded guilty and was giving probation before judgement and ordered to pay a $500 fine and court fees.

Hill has been one of the highest-paid assistant college basketball coaches in the country the past few years. He reportedly made $423,000 a year at Kansas State and, according to a copy of his 2010-11 contract at Maryland obtained by the Baltimore Sun, Hill was the highest-paid member of Turgeon’s staff at $300,000 annually. Hill has subsequently signed at least one more contract at Maryland.

Neither Turgeon nor Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson would talk about Hill’s situation, other to say in a statement released Tuesday by the school that they would continue to support Hill.

An athletic department spokesman said that Hill remains on staff.

don.markus@baltsun.com