Several people were injured and a SigAlert was issued for traffic on State Route 56 at Black Mountain Road after a crash on Friday night.
The road was closed for three hours both ways while emergency crews fought for the lives of three travelers.
Debris from the crash was strewn more than 200 feet – so much that CHP kept cars back a quarter mile so Mercy Air didn't blow the pieces into traffic.
Investigators said a man and woman in a white Nissan Altima were traveling westbound when they crossed the median, crashed through heavy brush and collided with a gray Honda Accord driven by a woman who was not identified.
The vehicles were so mangled, firefighters had to peel back the layers of crushed metal to extract all three passengers.
Investigators said the victims sustained serious injuries – but not life-threatening – and were transported to Sharp Hospital.