SUTTER COUNTY -- Two drivers died in a fiery crash that blocked a portion of northbound Highway 99 in Sutter County.
Three hours after a life-ending impact, two cars were taken away from the scene along the highway.
Investigators with the California Highway Patrol say a Chevrolet Silverado was left in burnt pieces after crossing out of the southbound lanes and turning, for unknown reasons, into northbound traffic, slamming into a Ford Escape.
Both drivers were alone in their cars as they traveled through Nicolaus, just north of Power Line Road.
“It looks like the vehicle traveling northbound tried to get out of the way and was broadsided," said CHP Officer Dave Hernandez.
It ended up a few hundred feet forward in a ditch.
The pickup truck that crumpled it burst into flames as it skidded into the same ditch, igniting a brush fire some emergency crews had to battle as others tried to save lives.
Some loved ones of those killed watched the scenario play out.
"One of the vehicles was in like a caravan, and so I think someone was following someone," Officer Hernandez told FOX40.
Those relatives did not want to speak on camera Wednesday night.
As officers tried to piece together how two lives were killed, one spotted what could have been a deadly threat in the traffic backed up behind the crash.
"Actually, we, in fact, did make an arrest on the scene,” Hernandez said. “Earlier, there had been a 'be on the lookout' for a vehicle and an officer noticed the plate, and he made an arrest on that vehicle for impaired driving as well."
Thirty-four-year-old Manjinder Dosanjh of Yuba City now faces charges on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Officer Hernandez said there is an important safety lesson in the wreckage for everyone.
"The even more tragic thing about this is the vehicle traveling northbound, the dark-colored SUV, it appears that the driver wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash," he said.