THREE passengers were taken to hospital after a bus crashed into an empty bar.
A 59-year-old man, and two women, aged 79 and 82, were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital after the accident yesterday afternoon.
The number 20 Stagecoach service drove into the building, formerly Destination, in High Street West, at lunchtime yesterday.
Along with the adjoining former Toni’s restaurant, it was due to re-open as West Minster bar and restaurant.
But now the businessmen behind it says the smash means work to renovate the building may have to be put on hold.
One of the two men representing Theatre Leisure Limited, who did not want to be named, said: “In the last two weeks we’ve spent about £90,000 and we’ve still got another £100,000 to spend.
“We were hoping to be open next week for all the concerts- that was the plan. We are not going to let this hold us back.”
Now he must wait to find out if the impact has caused structural damage to the building.
Five bollards on the corner of High Street West the bar were also knocked down by the bus.
He added: “Everybody seemed to be OK. We fetched the women and children in here, because they were in shock.
“The bus was packed. If it had been 24 hours early we would have had a squad of people working out here.
“The first thing I did was go and look under it, because when something like this happens, you wonder what’s caused it.”
Police closed the road for a short time while the bus was recovered.
The crash comes after passengers and pedestrians had a lucky escape when a Stagecoach bus ploughed into Sunderland JobCentre in John Street on Monday.
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “At around 12.45pm on Thursday, May 16, one of our vehicles was involved in an incident in which it collided with bollards on High Street West in Sunderland city centre, before coming to a halt beside a building.
“Three passengers were on board at the time and we understand that two of them have sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident. Our first thoughts are for their welfare.
“Safety is our absolute priority and we have already launched an investigation into the cause of this incident.”