Owatonna hit-and-run suspect arraigned Thursday; accused of running over toddler, then getting a car wash

Owatonna Hit and Run Arrest

Owatonna Hit and Run Arrest

(ABC 6 News) – An Owatonna man accused of running over a toddler Tuesday night appeared in Steele County Court Thursday.

Scott John Pfeifer, 36 appeared in Steele County Court from the Freeborn County jail at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 23.

He was formally charged with one count of felony criminal vehicular operation–substantial bodily harm, driver who causes collision leaves scene; a charge of gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation–bodily harm, leave scene of collision; as well as two counts of gross misdemeanor traffic collision–driver fail to stop, injury or death.

RELATED: UPDATE: Arrest made in Owatonna hit-and-run involving mother and her 2-year-old child – ABC 6 News – kaaltv.com

When Pfeifer said he had not received a copy of his charging documents, Steele County judge Karen Duncan read his complaint to him.

According to court documents, Owatonna police responded to Rose St. West and Oak Ave. North around 9 p.m. May 21, and found a woman in the middle of the road holding a two-year-old with injuries to the front and back of her head, as well as blood in her inner right ear, and abrasions and cuts on her torso and legs.

The child’s mother allegedly told police a man had hit her friend, who was holding her daughter, and fled while she and others yelled for him to stop.

“I saw my daughter went under the truck as it drove over her,” the woman told police, according to court documents. “I don’t know if the car ran over her or not. He stopped but then he kept going westbound.”

The friend, who had been carrying the child, said a dark blue or black truck had turned out of a nearby apartment building.

The friend said she’d seen the truck sitting at the stop sign at 131 Rose Street West, and a man in a white had was texting at the wheel.

Because the car had stopped, the group started across the street, but the man allegedly turned onto the road and hit the pair.

The friend said the truck hit her on her left side, knocking the child out of her arms and onto the road.

According to court documents, the child was flown to Mayo Hospital in Rochester, and was later diagnosed with a skull fracture at the back of her head, bleeding inside her skull, a concussion, two fractures to her pelvic region, a liver lesion, bruising and scrapes to her entire body, and a cut by her ear.

The friend said she had pain in her ribs, scrapes, and a cut on top of her ankle.

According to court documents, Owatonna police tracked the suspect vehicle via traffic and surveillance cameras, and pulled photos of Pfeifer, which Owatonna police identified through prior encounters.

Via surveillance video, Owatonna police saw Pfeifer run a red light, stop at a gas station, and purchase a “Deluxe” car wash at 9:10 p.m. May 21, according to court documents.

At about 4 p.m. May 22, Owatonna police located Pfeifer in the 100 block of Vine Street West and apprehended him near the suspect vehicle.

A detective reported that Pfeifer made a “spontaneous utterance” during his arrest that “I didn’t know I hit a person.”

Pfeifer allegedly said later he thought someone had thrown trash at his vehicle, and said nothing about visiting the Holiday gas station and getting a car wash Tuesday night “until confronted after his story.”

Judge Duncan set Pfeifer’s bail at $10,000 with no conditions, or $0 if he avoids driving unless he is properly licensed and insured, remains in touch with his lawyer, and avoids contact with the alleged victim.

Sheilan Hamasoor, with the prosecution, recommended that Pfeifer be held on bail, and said he appeared to be a flight risk as he had allegedly fled the scene and obtained a carwash just after the crash.

Pfeifer’s next hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. July 11.