LODI — All northbound lanes are now open on Interstate 5 after a deadly seven-car pileup left two people dead and dozens of drivers stuck on the interstate for much of the day Thursday.
Flames shot from a big rig following two crashes on I-5 involving seven vehicles.
“I just saw a truck spin out in front of the semi that is on fire, or was on fire,” said big rig driver and witness Peter Vanvalkenburg.
It all started around 7:30 a.m., when the California Highway Patrol says they were investigating a separate accident involving a big rig and a sedan on I-5 just south of Highway 12. One lane was shut down and traffic was backing up.
That’s when the CHP says a big rig driven by a woman from Arizona slammed into several stopped cars while going 55 mph.
“At that point that triggered a series of other collisions, which ultimately involved four big rigs and three sedans,” said CHP Stockton spokesman Charlie Katzakian.
The force of the impact sent the semitrailer over the top of a Hyundai before it burst into flames.
The CHP says the driver of the Hyundai, a 50-year old man from Stockton, along with a 36-year old man from Tracy were killed in the crash.
A Stockton woman was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
For the next five hours, all lanes of northbound I-5 at Eight Mile Road were shut down as crews worked to clear the charred semitrailer’s cab and other cars from scene.
Drivers FOX40 spoke to agreed the deadly crash should serve as a reminder to everyone to slow down and pay attention.
“It’s hard to put into words ’cause, like yeah, I was just … It could have been me five seconds before, like if I would have been up ahead, who knows what would have happened,” Vanvalkenburg said.
The CHP says the crash is still under investigation but alcohol nor drugs were a factor in the crash.
Stay with FOX40 for updates on this crash.
Correction: Previous versions of this story said eight cars were involved in the crash. That has since been corrected.
#Trafficalert INTERSTATE 5 CLOSURE: Due to a series of vehicle collisions, some involving big rigs, NB I-5 is CLOSED from Eight Mile Road to State Route 12. All traffic is being diverted off the roadway at Eight Mile. There is no ETO for opening I-5, so plan on extra travel time. pic.twitter.com/xvsNDzbWOV
— Caltrans District 10 (@CaltransDist10) May 23, 2019