The California Highway Patrol says Juana Martinez Bejarano drove through a stop sign just south of Riverdale on Saturday night at about 60 mph.
Her 2004 Nissan slammed into the 2003 Ford SUV carrying the family.
The Ford burst into flames and CHP officers say the driver and four children aged 1, 3, 6 and 11 years old died at the scene.
The CHP says the father of the family was following the Ford, witnessed the crash and was injured trying to pull his family from the vehicle.
Bejarano was taken to Community Regional Medical Center with major injuries.