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Fresno woman dead, 2 injured after wrong-way driver causes major crash on I-5 in San Joaquin County

I-5 reopens after deadly wrong-way crash in San Joaquin County
I-5 reopens after deadly wrong-way crash in San Joaquin County 01:46

THORNTON — One person died and two others were hospitalized following a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5 near the Sacramento-San Joaquin County line Wednesday evening, authorities said.

The collision, which involved a semi-truck and at least two other smaller trucks, happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. along the southbound side of I-5 at Walnut Grove Road in the small community of Thornton.

Angel Arceo, a California Highway Patrol spokesperson, said a woman was driving in the northbound lanes when, at some point, she crossed over into the southbound lanes. She had first hit the side of an oncoming semi-truck before crashing head-on into the other vehicle.

The woman who was driving the wrong way died from her injuries at the scene, Arceo said. It was not yet clear how severe the injuries of the two survivors were.

Personnel from the Thornton Fire District responded to assist with the crash. The Woodbridge Fire District, which is located southeast of Thornton, said it was called in for assistance when the Thornton crew arrived to find a vehicle on fire.

The reason for the woman crossing into the other lanes remains under investigation. Arceo said it was not yet determined if drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Traffic on southbound I-5 was heavily impacted for an extended time.

Thornton is a small community in northern San Joaquin County. It is located along the northbound side of I-5 about 30 miles south of Sacramento and about 22 miles north of Stockton.

"Be vigilant. It's summertime. For some reason, right now, we've been getting a lot of crashes," Arceo said. "And wrong-way (crashes), you don't expect that sometimes, but be mindful. Look ahead  because you never know what you're going to encounter on the road."

The woman killed has been identified by CHP as a 65-year-old Fresno resident.

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