TRAFFIC ground to a halt in Doncaster as police closed a bridge to investigate the death of a taxi passenger.
Road closures were in place for 12 hours after a man died on St George’s Bridge at 2.10am yesterday, in what police would describe only as ‘an incident’.
Traders at Doncaster Market, a few yards away, said they heard a man had jumped from a moving taxi - possibly to avoid paying a fare.
Five people - including the driver of the taxi - were arrested, and were yesterday helping police with inquiries.
A people carrier-style taxi remained inside the police cordon during the investigation.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The man was a passenger in the taxi and police are investigating the circumstances that led to his death. The man sustained head injuries and was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary where he died.”
As rumours circulated in the town, police put out a statement denying reports someone had been shot.
The road closures, involving the main bridge across the River Don which links the north and the south of Doncaster, caused havoc for motorists.
One woman said she abandoned her car in Bentley after hitting traffic jams, and took the train from there.
Nathan Cooke, an 18-year-old student at the Northern Racing College in Wheatley, said the tailbacks along Wheatley Hall Road stretched back to the Wheatley Centre as traffic was stopped from turning onto the roundabout to go north.
He said: “My bus to the college did not turn up because of the traffic jams. I was waiting for it for an hour, which meant I was going to be late.” Vicky Cummings, from Adwick, said she had set off on a 10-minute journey which lasted an hour.
And one market trader, who asked not to be named, said he made it into town over an hour late. “It has been chaotic,” he said.
“Obviously incidents occur, but there were no signs in place, and I saw two collisions in the gridlocked traffic. There were too many people pulling out and blocking junctions at traffic lights.”
A spokeswoman for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service said the gridlock initially caused problems for ambulance crews, but operations were rearranged to cope.