I-80 now open from Sacramento to Davis
SACRAMENTO — Northern California's main interstate has reopened while law enforcement authorities search a neighborhood in the state capital for an armed carjacker.
A series of carjackings and the suspect's shooting at officers Friday morning led authorities to close a section of Interstate 80 in both directions just west of Sacramento.
The closure brought to a standstill one of the essential freeway systems in Northern California and the region's main out-of-state corridor, beginning at 6 a.m. during the early commute and continuing into early afternoon.
California Highway Patrol Officer Bryan Konvalin says the freeway was partially reopening shortly after 12:30 p.m. The CHP expected it to be fully open within the hour.
Authorities believe the gunman opened fire at a commercial trucking business in West Sacramento and crashed a stolen getaway vehicle during a police chase on Interstate 80, which runs from the East Coast into Northern California.
No one was injured in the shooting or crash, but officers closed a stretch of the highway as they searched for a man they said was wearing a long trench coat-style jacket.
About 4-1/2 hours after the closure, there were reports of another carjacking in West Sacramento, near the California Highway Patrol academy. Police were searching for a brown Ford F-150 pickup truck and say the suspect may be the same person they were seeking.
The incident began around 6 a.m. when officers responded to reports of shots being fired near the trucking business, a report that was quickly followed by a carjacking. Officers spotted the stolen vehicle and began pursuing it, with the driver firing shots at officers.
The vehicle crashed in the center median of the Yolo Causeway, a three-mile-long elevated section of the interstate that runs over the flood basin. The road remained closed, effectively shutting the main freeway corridor east of the San Francisco Bay area.
Commuter Charles Mueller was heading west on the freeway on his way to work just as police pulled up to the crashed stolen vehicle. "I got all spun up," he said, recalling the squads of officers pulling alongside him and taking aim at the vehicle with assault-style weapons.
Mueller said he was able to drive through the scene before the freeway was shut down. Having lived in Los Angeles, Mueller said he has come to see these types of large-scale road closures as a necessary evil.
"I grew up in Southern California, if you know what I mean," he said. "I figured once there's police activity, there's no escaping."
Stalled commuters were directed to stay inside and lock their doors until officers could turn them around.
The California Highway Patrol launched all its emergency signs in the region, trying to alert drivers to the freeway closure and direct traffic to alternative routes, although even those were clogged to the point of being nearly impassable.
"We've pulled officers from the entire region to get them turned around," CHP spokesman Adrian Quintero said. "But we also have to be patient and slow. We don't want more collisions."
Quintero said it's not clear when the freeway might reopen because the manhunt spanned such a wide area. In addition to Special Weapons and Tactics squads, authorities were using K-9 units and a helicopter to try to locate the gunman.
Associated Press writer Hannah Dreier contributed to this report.
This traffic map highlights an alternate route to get to or from the Bay Area while the Yolo causeway remains closed. Be advised the alternate roads are backed up. If you need to get to the airport today from the Auburn area, you can take Baseline Road in Roseville out to Highway 99 and then head south to I-5.