Two crashes in north Chico happened within minutes of each other ... about a block apart.
The first involved a white car colliding with an SUV at 4:45 Wednesday afternoon at the intersection of Highway 99 and Garner Lane.
The SUV ended up wrapped around a pole, and the car's battery caught fire.
Fortunately everyone got out of the wreckage, and there were no serious injuries.
But the accident did snarl traffic during the busy evening commute.
Twenty minutes later, the driver of a pick-up truck was heading north on the Esplanade was distracted by the emergency lights at the Highway 99 crash ... and plowed into the back of a small car that was stopped to make a left turn.
Rescue crews had to use the Jaws-of-Life to free two teenage girls from the wreckage.
They suffered major injuries.
The drivers of the car and the pick-up truck were not hurt.
That part of the Esplanade was closed for about a half hour until the scene could be cleaned-up. ###