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NATOMAS – In the early hours of Sunday morning, a collision escalated into a physical altercation between the two drivers, leading to the death of both men.

The CHP is still trying to piece together what happened that left the two men dead and closed Interstate 5 for several hours.

CHP officials spent most of the morning on I-5 investigating the scene. The highway has since reopened but the case is not closed.

“At about 3:44 this morning the highway patrol received reports of a traffic collision on I-5 northbound around Arena Boulevard,” said officer Mike Zerfas with North Sacramento CHP.

Officials are investigating this case as a homicide but believe the suspect is already dead.

According to the CHP, the drivers collided then drove farther down the highway to Del Paso Road, where they continued to fight. One of the drivers died due to injuries sustained in the altercation.

One of the men pulled out a baseball bat, beating the other and killing him.

“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.

Usually, the fights do not end in death.

After the fight, the CHP says the suspect in the case took off, walking in the middle of the freeway. He was then hit by a car, making him the second death in the case.

Officers say the situation could have been avoided.

“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 driver who hit the suspect stayed at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.

The CHP says they don’t yet know whether any charges will be filed against that driver.