A shopkeeper was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a pensioner suffered a stroke behind the wheel of his car and ploughed into the side of a shop.

Ian James, 77, lost control of his vehicle and smashed into the Co-op store at around 8.50am on Saturday (9/4).

Staff members were forced to dive for cover after the VW Polo careered into the building – smashing into a cigarette cabinet next to the service counter.

Emergency services attended the scene on Canada Way, in Lower Wick, Worcester, and rushed Mr James to hospital.

A female shop worker, aged in her 30s, was also taken to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where she was treated for serious leg injuries.

Yesterday (Mon) Mr James’ wife Lesley, 75, said her husband had been left “devastated” by what happened and was still recovering in hospital.

The couple had just returned from a holiday in the Isle of Wight and Mr James had been out to collect their cat from a cattery when the accident occurred.

Only yards from their bungalow the retired prison officer suffered a stroke which meant he struggled to use the brake pedal and crashed through the wall.

Lesley, who has been married to Mr James for 18 years, said: “Ian had been having trouble with walking and his co-ordination. Doctors say it looks like a stroke.

“He was devastated – really worried for the person who was injured.

“He was trying to brake, it was a total accident.

“He was taken to hospital, we think he will be there for a few days.”

Three police cars, two ambulances and a fire engine were dispatched to the scene following the smash and nearby flats were evacuated.

The female shop worker was trapped in the the rubble after the wall collapsed and it took rescue crews 25 minutes to release her.

A friend of the family who lives in the close but did not want to be named, said she heard a “loud bang” and glass smashing as whisky bottles crashed to the shop’s floor.

Another resident said she thought there had been an earthquake when the car came through the wall below her children’s bedroom where her two daughters, aged eight and nine, were at the time.

Mags Moore, who lives in one of the flats above the Co-op store, added: “I felt it.

“I was asleep upstairs in one of the flats. I didn’t know what it was so I went back to sleep.

“Not long after there was a knock at the door to say we had to get dressed as a car had crashed into the side of the wall of Co-op.”

Ali Vinson, a West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic, tweeted that the shop assistant escaped with a leg injury, but she was shaken by what happened.

She tweeted: “Believe driver had a CVA at the wheel. Wall collapsed causing injury to shop assistant.

“Thank God there were no pedestrians.”

Liz Webb, the Co-operative shop’s area manager, said the shop was closed for the day after the incident and they were not sure when it would reopen.

West Mercia Police are not currently treating the incident as suspicious but officers have urged any witnesses to get in touch.

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