Chula Vista police officers said a man traveling westbound on Telegraph Canyon with his two children in the car tried to make an illegal U-turn at Apache Drive.
The man's vehicle collided with a Chevy Camaro and then veered across the median and into oncoming traffic.
The out-of-control car crashed into a third vehicle traveling westbound.
Police said the father drove the opposite direction into a turnout lane to try and make a U-turn onto the eastbound side of the street.
"The way the road is set up with the median there would be no U-turn going westbound," said CVPD Sgt. Steven Szymczak.
Five people were injured including the two children.
The children were secured in car safety seats in the back of the white vehicle.
"You wouldn't expect the driver and the two kids in the backseat to come out conscious and talking but they both were," Szymczak said.
CVPD is still investigating the crash and has not cited the driver. Police did, however, cite the driver of the Camaro for being a juvenile driving without a license.