A MAN was taken to hospital yesterday after the van he was driving crashed through the window of a city centre restaurant.

The van careened across Cathedral Square, knocking down a bollard and then hitting Pizza Express’s front window at around 8am.

Passersby told paramedics they thought the man had passed out at the wheel before the crash, which shattered a huge glass window on one side of the restaurant and left shards of glass all over the pavement.

Police and firefighters also rushed to the scene to help man.

Dilek Naylor, manager of Knight Frank, which is next door to Pizza Express, described hearing an “almighty bang.”

She said: “I thought, oh my God, what's happening? It just missed our window. I was coming up the stairs and thought some furniture had fallen, it was so loud. Can you imagine if that was the afternoon and people were out having food?”

Mrs Naylor said when she went outside she saw the van driver being tended to at the back of the car and drinking water.

Police tape prevented pedestrians entering much of the square and vehicles were stopped from accessing the multi-storey carpark – though the cordon was removed by 10am along with the van, which was taken by a recovery team.

Mrs Naylor said a bollard just before the restaurant was knocked down in the crash but was lifted back up.

We understand an employee of Next department store witnessed the crash and called 999, though she declined to speak to the Worcester News.

Mark Rasdall, owner of Mr Simms sweet shop, said when he arrived at work the van was “wedged inside” the restaurant’s window and the alarm was ringing.

He added: “The security guards were running around. As I walked past a police car came, then a fire engine, then an ambulance.”

Mr Rasdall said the small white van was stuck “half in, half out” of the window.

He said: “Maybe he was turning into the car park and got it confused? He was quite a long way into the building. Not just that, look at that glass, it could cut you to shreds if you're not careful.”

Tom Gaunt, owner of House of Coffee, arrived at work at about 7.45am but didn’t witness the crash.

“I heard the police siren like you do anywhere, then there was the ambulance and the fire brigade. I'm just glad it wasn't in the middle of the day.

“I definitely didn't hear it happen. What a shame,” he added.

A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said paramedics were called at 8.06am and arrived to find the patient had “managed to get himself out of the vehicle” before he was taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

He said: “Our crews were told by bystanders he appeared to have had a medical episode prior to the collision.”

The spokesman said the man had no injuries from the crash and was taken to hospital to be “assessed about whatever may have happened prior to the collision.”

Once the emergency crews had left the scene, the manager of Pizza Express began clearing tables and chairs away from the shards of glass.

The crash also led to heavy congestion in College Street and delays to drivers.