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Former RHHS wrestling coach arrested, charged with assault

A former Rock Hill High School wrestling coach was arrested over the weekend after authorities say he followed a man from the Come See Me festival, then dragged another man with his vehicle during a confrontation in a driveway.

James Barnes of 610 Atherton Way, Rock Hill, was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and public disorderly conduct late Saturday night, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office report.

Barnes, 60, was released on bond Sunday, authorities said.

The incident began at Winthrop University when a York man was shooting video at the Come See Me festival, the report stated. The man said Barnes was drunk in a parking lot and exchanged words with him about shooting video.

The man stopped the camera and left. However, when he was leaving, Barnes cut him off, according to the report. As the man was driving home, he realized Barnes was following him, the report stated. He said Barnes was following too close to his vehicle, swerving and flashing his headlights.

The man called another man in Rock Hill, told him what was happening and said he was coming to his house because he was afraid to go home while being followed, according to the report.

The York man pulled in the driveway of the Rock Hill man’s home and so did Barnes, the report stated. Armed with a handgun, the Rock Hill man approached Barnes’ vehicle shining a spot light on him, pointing the gun and asking Barnes what he was doing.

Barnes sat in his vehicle and didn’t respond, the report stated. The Rock Hill man told Barnes that the Sheriff’s Office was on the way and to turn off his vehicle. Then he reached inside Barnes’ vehicle to shut it off and Barnes shifted into reverse, hit the gas and began dragging him beside the vehicle, the report stated.

Meanwhile, the York man was pulling the Rock Hill man to keep him from being run over, the report stated. No one was hurt in the incident.Barnes backed into a ditch, then put the vehicle in drive and left the scene, the report stated.

A Sheriff’s deputy dispatched a description of Barnes’ vehicle, which was found at the Long Branch parking lot on Riverview Road.

Outside the bar, a deputy talked to Barnes, who appeared to be drunk, the report stated. The deputy asked him what had happened and Barnes explained the scenario the same way the other men did, except he said he didn’t remember dragging anyone.

Barnes said he followed the York man because he was angry the man had been shooting video, the report stated. He was arrested and taken to the York County Detention Center.

Barnes could not be reached for comment. He was arrested in 2004 on a charge of driving under the influence, but was later found not guilty, according to records from the State Law Enforcement Division.

Barnes retired from Rock Hill High School in 2000, leaving with a 415-23 record. He won 17 state championships, including 14 at Rock Hill during his 20 seasons with the Bearcats.

The six years his team didn't win the title, it finished second. He holds state records for most wins by a coach and most state championships. He also served as the defensive coordinator for the football team under former coach Jim Ringer.

Barnes is scheduled to be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame on May 6 in Columbia. He is currently coaching at a Charlotte high school.

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