A woman and a child are dead after their vehicle slammed into a tree on westbound Interstate 80 just past Madison Avenue in Sacramento, the California Highway Patrol said.
CHP Officer Lizz Dutton said a red Nissan Pathfinder crossed several lanes just before the I-80/Capitol City freeway split.
"The driver abruptly veered to the right, traveled off the roadway, onto the shoulder, down a slight embankment and struck a tree," Dutton said.
Dutton said the driver, a woman in her 40s, and a boy, 3 or 4 years old, were killed; the boy was in a car seat. A girl under the age of 10 suffered major injuries and was transported to UC Davis Medical Center. The woman and the girl were wearing seat belts.
Speeding and reckless driving were factors in the crash, Dutton said.
"This driver was obviously driving erratically and we're looking into what that cause could be," said Dutton.
The first 911 call reporting it was made at 2:11 p.m.
Three westbound lanes of I-80 were closed for several hours, Dutton said.