The crash occurred around 5 a.m. in rural western Kern County. The roadway was cleared by at least 8:45 a.m.
Investigators said 24-year-old Johnny Shankle of Shafter was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup southbound on Elk Hills Road, when for unknown reasons his truck drifted into the northbound lanes and hit a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup head on.
Shankle suffered major injuries. All four people in the other pickup were identified as being from Taft and all were injured. The driver, 29-year-old Marzey Alvillanes-Mejia was hospitalized with moderate injuries along with two male passengers. An unidentified female passenger was hospitalized with major injuries.
The crash is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol.