CHP said all three victims are from San Jose. A male driver and two female passengers died in the crash.
Investigators said the first accident happened at 7:55 Tuesday morning when a semi-truck made left turn from Highway 152 onto Road 16 when it was clipped by a second big rig carrying cotton bales. Officers say visibility at the time was between 100 and 200 feet due to fog.
Moments later, another truck caused a secondary crash when CHP officials say the driver of a container truck swerved to avoid the first crash. Investigators say that driver went into the oncoming lanes and hit a Honda Accord, killing three people.
"The fog is partially to blame due to visibility -- and a right of way violation in the first collision. The second... driver attempted to avoid a collision which caused the second collision," said Mark Cosentino, California Highway Patrol.
The accidents did snarl traffic along Highway 152 for several hours while crews cleaned up the scene.