Officials said between 25 to 50 vehicles were involved and 30 patients were on scene with 22 suffering minor injuries, seven with undetermined injuries and one 22-month-old child air lifted to a hospital in critical condition.
"Suddenly, I just saw a car stop for no reason and then we all got into an accident," Raul Macias said.
Most victims were able to escape from mangled vehicles scattered across the roadway on their own.
A horse inside a trailer died at the scene. Two other horses survived.
Thick fog blanketed the area, and it was raining when the first minor accident happened.
The crash caused a chain reaction slowdown, which then caused two subsequent traffic collisions. One involved upwards of a dozen vehicles, Sgt. Jeff Mesa of the California Highway Patrol said.
Video from the scene showed traffic at a standstill and one car burning; Los Angeles Fire said several cars were on fire, but all flames had been extinguished.
The crash occurred shortly before 3 p.m. near Gorman School Road.
Thick fog over the grapevine on the Golden State Freeway 5. Several pileups causing major delays southbound near exit 202. pic.twitter.com/jkzAr6uD0V— Jen Hughes (@JenPhoLil) March 23, 2019
The southbound side of the freeway between Frazier Mountain Road and Gorman Road were shutdown before later opening up to one lane. After major delays, lanes reopened at approximately 6:35 p.m., according to CHP.
Officials said foggy conditions made visibility an issue. CHP confirmed no one was arrested for DUI, and said some drivers did not adjust to the weather conditions.
Kern County Fire was on scene assisting.