By the Daily Post staff
A red Chevy Camaro fleeing an illegal sideshow early this morning near the Palo Alto Baylands sideswiped a patrol car before slamming into a tree, sending both people in the Camaro to the hospital with major injuries. No officers were injured.
It started at 1:06 a.m. when an officer on patrol saw at least four vehicles involved in a sideshow at the east end of Embarcadero Road near the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve, police said.
Other officers drove to the location with their overhead lights and sirens turned on.
This caused the sideshow participants to flee west on Embarcadero Road as the officers approached from the east, police said.
As it sped past, the red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro struck the left front tire of a police vehicle that had been turned at an angle to prepare for a U-turn, police said.
The two vehicles narrowly avoided a head-on collision by inches, according to police.
This Camaro continued driving west for about a quarter mile before veering off the roadway and striking a tree on the north side of the 1900 block of Embarcadero Road.
The other sideshow vehicles continued speeding west and police were not able to stop them. No officers pursued any of the vehicles.
Camaro that hit the tree did not do so because of the slight contact with the patrol car, which was itself drivable after the contact, police said in a statement.
Officers immediately contacted Palo Alto Fire Department, which rendered medical aid to the two occupants of the Camaro. Both occupants sustained major injuries and are currently in intensive care, according to police.
Police said the driver is a man in his 20s from East Palo Alto; the front seat passenger is a woman in her 20s. Neither was wearing a seat belt.
There was also a small-breed dog in their vehicle; the dog sustained major injuries as well. Officers took it to an emergency veterinary hospital, but it had to be euthanized due to its extensive injuries, police said.
Police said they have reason to believe the Camaro driver was under the influence of alcohol. The episode is under investigation by the department’s Special Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team.
Police said they’re not releasing the driver’s name because he hasn’t been arrested since he’s in the hospital. Charges could include felony evading, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer (due to striking the patrol vehicle), reckless driving, DUI causing injury, animal neglect, and more.
Police emphasized in their statement that illegal sideshows are inherently dangerous and can be deadly to both participants and spectators. Police strongly discourage this hazardous behavior and will seek criminal charges against anyone found to be participating in them.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to [email protected] or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.