Sioux Falls Police are searching for a driver who hit a city snow plow early Christmas morning.
The crash happened in downtown Sioux Falls around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. The driver and a passenger fled from the scene, leaving another passenger pinned under the plow.
City officials say the crash caused about $6,000 worth of damage to the plow and more than $4,000 to the 1998 Mazda that police had tried to pull over just moments before the crash.
"The car actually hit us right in the fuel tank and it did puncture the tank and there was fuel spilled out on the street," Galynn Huber with Sioux Falls Street Maintenance said.
The car took off when police tried to stop it near 8th Street and Cliff Avenue for a traffic violation but the officer decided not to chase the car on the snow-covered streets.
"In this case, the officer when they tried to stop it, the car fled. He just decided not to pursue. I don't know what the traffic violation was but I'm guessing it wasn't worth the risk of getting in a pursuit," Sam Clemens with Sioux Falls Police said.
A few minutes later, the driver hit a city plow as it was turning off 10th Street toward the bus station in downtown Sioux Falls.
The crash pinned a 28-year-old male passenger in the front seat while the driver and a 40-year-old female who was riding in the back seat took off on foot. The second passenger eventually came back to the scene and police say both passengers were drunk. They suspect the driver had also been drinking too.
"The driver has not been found but after talking to the two passengers they know who they're looking for," Clemens said Thursday.
The crash caused thousands of dollars in damage but officials say they're fortunate that the crash wasn’t worse.
“It was bad enough we got hit but any time you have fuel leaking out there, you're always worried about what could possibly ignite especially when you're so close to the engine and the muffler," Huber said.
And while police search for the driver who caused the damage, officials say it's a good reminder to all drivers to watch out for the plows.
"That's why we always preach don't crowd our plows; try to give us some room out there because situations like this do happen," Huber said.
City officials say it will likely be next week before the plow is repaired and ready to head back to the street.