Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man's body, hopes for new life left beside road

Stanley Barnes, 57, talks Monday about his son, Vincent, in the kitchen of his home in Spring Hill. Vincent Barnes, 28, was killed in a hit-and-run on U.S. 19 near River Country Drive while riding his bicycle to work.


Stanley Barnes, 57, talks Monday about his son, Vincent, in the kitchen of his home in Spring Hill. Vincent Barnes, 28, was killed in a hit-and-run on U.S. 19 near River Country Drive while riding his bicycle to work.

SPRING HILL — Its corners shredded and pages torn, the Bible was found near his body.

What looks like a tire track is stamped across the phrase "God's Word" on its front cover. The book and its owner, Vincent Lloyd Barnes, were dragged along U.S. 19 by a truck Sunday afternoon before authorities say he was tossed onto the side of the road, where he died.

Barnes was riding his bicycle to work on the paved shoulder of the highway when, witnesses say, a man driving a black Chevrolet Silverado pickup plowed into him and kept on going. The Florida Highway Patrol is still searching for a suspect.

The 28-year-old's father, Stanley Barnes, on Monday said his son would have already forgiven the killer. That's just who he was.

"He wouldn't hold this against the guy for nothing," Stanley Barnes said. "He would have forgiven him before I would have."

"Vinny" to all who knew him, he never parted with his Bible. As he did Sunday, Vinny packed it with him on his 40-minute bike ride to work at Texas Roadhouse on Cortez Boulevard, where he washed dishes. He also took it to his tent in the woods, where he'd lived for months to save money to buy a house.

After a painful divorce about two years ago, his parents say he lost a job at another restaurant. Unemployment checks didn't cover his rent and child support for his now-3-year-old son, Malachi. He searched nearly a year before he was hired at the steak house about five months ago.

Co-workers said he took pride in his work. Manager Keith Ball, who has worked in restaurants for 20 years, said Vinny was the best dishwasher he'd ever seen. Two weeks after he hired Vinny, Ball gave him a raise.

Wednesday, Vinny was named March employee of the month from among the restaurant's 100 or so staffers. His name and picture will be placed the front entrance.

On April 18, Ball said, Texas Roadhouse will give 10 percent of its revenue to Vinny's family. Management has offered to cover funeral expenses.

Stanley Barnes hadn't spoken to his son in the past couple of weeks. Vinny's phone had been turned off, so Barnes dropped a note off for him at work. Authorities found it folded and tucked in the pages of the Bible.

"Call me if you like," the note read in part. "If not, I will continue to pray for you as I always have — Love Dad."

Barnes never heard back.

Times staff writer Rita Farlow contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or [email protected]

Man's body, hopes for new life left beside road 04/11/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 11, 2011 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Police: Clearwater man attempted to rob Largo Speedway with knife


    LARGO — A Clearwater man is facing multiple charges after police say he tried to rob a Speedway store with a knife early Tuesday morning.

    Geoffrey Davis, 31, faces a charge of armed robbery after Largo police said he attempted to steal items from a Speedway at 2698 Roosevelt Blvd. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  2. From the food editor: Shout out to my husband, the world's least picky eater, with this bowl of pappardelle


    Oh, hello, end of October. When the heck did you get here?

    Pappardelle with Cream Sauce and Mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  3. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?


    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:


    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations


    Celebrity chef John Besh became a symbol of the rebirth of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina leveled the city. Now he faces a storm of his own. On Monday, Besh stepped down from the restaurant group he founded and co-owns after more than two dozen women alleged his company fostered a culture of sexual abuse.

    Chef John Besh attends the Supper to benefit the Global Fund to fight AIDS in New York in May 2015. Besh is stepping down from the restaurant group that bears his name after a newspaper reported that 25 current or former employees of the business said they were victims of sexual harassment. [Brad Barket | Invision/AP, File]
  5. No serious injuries after deputy rear-ends school bus in Thonotosassa


    THONOTOSASSA — No one was seriously injured Tuesday morning after a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy rear-ended a school bus, authorities said.