A car crash escalated into a fight between two drivers on the 5 Freeway in Sacramento, which led to the deaths of both men on Sunday, officials said.
The incident began around 3:45 a.m. with reports of a collision on the northbound 5 near Arena Boulevard, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Zerfas.
After the crash, both drivers continued down the highway, stopping near Del Paso Road where they got into a physical confrontation, KTLA sister station KTXL in Sacramento reported.
“Two men exited their vehicle and began to fight," Zerfas told the station. "They were involved in a physical fight with each other."
Then, as the confrontation spilled out into the middle of the freeway, one of the men pulled out a blunt object and began beating the other with it, killing him, according to CHP.
“Fights on the freeway between angry motorists, whether it’s the result of a traffic collision or some sort of road rage type incident, occur quite often. Usually not in the middle of the lanes like it happened here,” Zerfas said.
The second man attempted to leave after the fight, but while walking in the middle of the highway, he was struck by a car, according to authorities.
He also died.
The driver who hit him remained at the scene and was cooperating with investigators, KTXL reported.
It was not immediately known whether the motorist would face charges. Officials said the fatality stemming from the fight is being investigated as a homicide.
The deadly situation could easily have been avoided, Zerfas told the station.
“If you’re involved in a traffic collision call 911, report the incident and let officers come out to the scene. And if there’s any type of conflict between the involved motorists, that’s for us to handle,” Zerfas said.
The northbound 5 was shut down for several hours during the investigation; all lanes reopened mid-afternoon, according to the Sacramento Police Department.