A rider on a Vespa scooter was critically injured Thursday afternoon in a crash on northbound Highway 101 near Salinas Street.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Jeremy Wayland said 65-year-old Thomas Epps of Montecito was riding his 2011 Vespa GTS 300 at about 65 miles per hour when he moved into the left lane, into the side of a Chevrolet truck. His wife was riding her motorcycle just ahead of him.

Wayland said it’s unclear why Epps merged into the truck, but he lost control after hitting it and was thrown off the Vespa, sustaining major head trauma from hitting the ground.

The CHP, the Santa Barbara City Fire Department and American Medical Response responded to the scene.

Epps was taken to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries. Wayland said Epps was wearing a helmet, and that drugs and/or alcohol are not suspected to be a factor, though CHP is investigating the accident.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at gmagnoli@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.