By CBSLA Staff

GOLETA (CBSLA) — Four people died early Wednesday in two separate crashes on the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara County.

The freeway was shut down in both directions for most of Wednesday morning between Dos Pueblos Canyon and Winchester Canyon, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

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The first crash happened at about 2:10 a.m. in the northbound lanes at Signal Oil, according to the CHP. A 31-year-old Solvang man was driving a 2016 Hyundai Sonata going north was pronounced dead after his car hit another car, swerved onto the right shoulder and came to a stop in lanes. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene and was last seen going north.

The driver was not identified.

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A second crash occurred at about 2:18 a.m. in the southbound lanes at Dos Pueblos Canyon Road. According to the CHP, a Volkswagen going north crossed over the center divider and hit a Ford Expedition in the southbound left lane. Both vehicles caught fire, which was so intense it melted the license plate from the Volkswagen, and two people needed to be cut from the wreckage.

The driver of the Volkswagen, and the Expedition’s driver and passenger were all pronounced dead at the scene. The use of alcohol or drugs is being investigated as a possible factor in the crash.

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The southbound lanes were reopened just after 10 a.m. One northbound lane was reopened, but authorities said drivers should expect heavy traffic through the area.