The southbound side of Interstate 5 was shut down for eight hours Saturday after about 30 vehicles crashed on the freeway near Bakersfield, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The crash was reported at 8:46 a.m. on the southbound side of the 5 Freeway, north of Highway 99 junction, according to a CHP incident information page. The incident began as a two-car collision near the interstate's intersection with State Route 166, according to CHP spokesperson Brian Moore.
The two cars involved in the crash were stopped on the freeway, and soon a big rig traveling in the same direction ran into them, Moore said. That impact killed two people: a 50-year-old man and 35-year-old woman from Manteca, he said.
With traffic lanes blocked by the wreckage, a group of more than a dozen vehicles were unable to stop in time and began smashing into each other in a series of at least nine more collisions, according to Moore. In total some 30 vehicles were involved in the chain-reaction crash.
The southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed most of the day until just before 6 p.m., according to Caltrans District 6. Motorists had been detoured off at State Route 166.
Interstate 5 was later closed in both directions around 7:30 p.m. due to snow along the Grapevine, but the roadway reopened just before 11 p.m.