Southbound Interstate 5 Reopens Following Fatal Crash Involving 30 Vehicles Near Bakersfield

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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 aftermath of a crash that closed the southbound Interstate 5 near Bakersfield on Dec. 31, 2016. (Credit: KERO)

The aftermath of a crash that closed the southbound Interstate 5 near Bakersfield on Dec. 31, 2016. (Credit: KERO)

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.

The aftermath of a crash that closed the southbound Interstate 5 near Bakersfield on Dec. 31, 2016. (Credit: KERO)

The aftermath of a crash that closed the southbound Interstate 5 near Bakersfield on Dec. 31, 2016. (Credit: KERO)

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.

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