PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — A car fleeing an illegal Palo Alto sideshow at a high rate of speed early Friday careened into a tree, sending two people to the hospital and fatally injuring their pet dog, authorities said.

According to Palo Alto police, an officer on routine patrol at about 1:06 a.m. saw at least four vehicles involved in illegal sideshow activity at the east end of Embarcadero Road near the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

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Once other officers arrived on scene, they activated their lights and sirens as they approached the sideshow, causing the suspect vehicles to flee westbound Embarcadero Road at a high rate of speed.

As it sped past the officers, a red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro struck the left front tire of a police vehicle that had been canted to prepare for a U-turn, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision by inches.

The Camaro continued driving westbound 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 vehicles fled the scene.

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Police said that both occupants of the Camaro sustained major injuries and were currently in intensive care at a local hospital.

They said the driver was a male in his twenties from East Palo Alto. His front seat passenger was a female also in her twenties. Neither was wearing a seat belt.

Police said there was also a small-breed dog in their vehicle. The dog sustained major injuries and had to be euthanized due to its extensive injuries.

The case remained under active investigation. Police have reason to believe that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol.

At the conclusion of the investigation, police said, the driver will face criminal charges that could include felony evading, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer due to striking the patrol vehicle, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and animal neglect.

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Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to paloalto@tipnow.org or sent via text message or voice mail to (650) 383-8984.