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Van hits Lexington building

A minivan hit a building on West Short Street just before 1 p.m. Thursday, and the driver was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital.

The crash might be connected to another accident in which a vehicle hit a light pole on Second Street and left the scene just minutes earlier, said Major Brian Strange of the Lexington fire department.

Strange said he didn't think the driver of the minivan was badly hurt.

Apparently the building at 591 West Short Street wasn't hurt that badly, either, but the city's code enforcement division is investigating. Part of the building's facade was cracked by the crash and will have to come down, so the structure behind can be checked, code enforcement officer David Hollingsworth said.

"I expect there'll be fairly minor repairs," he said.

"Thank goodness for this thing," he said, pointing to a flower bed surrounded by concrete blocks near the entrance, which apparently took the brunt of the crash.

Lisa Samson, proprietor of Cuppa Tea Café, which is just in its sixth day of business in the building, heard the crash.

"I was doing dishes, and I heard this loud bang," Samson said.

She said the driver of the van was disoriented and was trying to back his vehicle away from the building when she ran out to see what had happened.

A passerby reached in the vehicle and removed the keys. The driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was having difficulty moving his legs, she said.

Samson said the van also hit a table and chairs in front of the flower box.

"We are so thankful nobody was sitting outside," she said.