Search warrant: Accused bank robber suffered drug relapse

Clayton Hill

A man arrested after authorities in Woodstock chased him in a car and on foot told a family member a day earlier he had relapsed into drug usage, wanted help and that his life was over.

The defendant, Clayton Lee Hill, 52, of Middleburg, was already wanted by police in connection with a bank robbery in Manassas on Jan. 7 when he spoke with his female relative on Jan. 9.

Search warrant documents filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court recount the conversation between Hill and his relative and how she helped lead police to Hill.

Hill told his relative that “he had relapsed on drugs, wanted help and that his life was over,” the search warrant affidavit states.

The woman had earlier called police after recognizing Hill’s face on a police flyer asking for citizen help in identifying the man in the photo. The photo was obtained from bank surveillance cameras, which authorities say showed Hill with a beard, black hat, dark jacket and blue jeans during the robbery.

On Jan. 10, law enforcement officials recognized Hill in a parked car in the Wal-Mart parking lot off of Va. 42 at 7 a.m. Authorities say Hill sped away as a Shenandoah County sheriff’s deputy and Woodstock police officer approached his car.

A Virginia State Police trooper saw Hill’s fleeing car and followed him down the southbound entrance ramp of Interstate 81, where Hill’s car ran into a ditch and crashed.

Authorities arrested Hill after a state police dog helped find him hiding in a Dumpster behind a store.

The search warrant lists Hill’s car as a 2006 Chrysler Sebring.

A detective from the Manassas Police Department executed the search warrant on Hill’s car on Jan. 12. Police seized several items including a cell phone and two black knit hats, all of which were believed to be possible links to the bank robbery.

The search warrant states the car was towed to a private impounding lot after Hill’s arrest.

Chief Eric Reiley of the Woodstock police said his department helped Manassas police in the execution of the search warrant.

“My understanding is that there wasn’t a lot of damage to the vehicle,” Reiley said. “It spun out, lost control and got stuck in the ditch.”

Hill’s criminal record includes a five-year prison sentence imposed in 2010 on a robbery charge in Prince William County.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com