HARRODSBURG — An arrest warrant has been issued for former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart after a Jessamine County tour bus operator alleged Hart assaulted him at last weekend’s Terrapin Hill music festival in western Mercer County.
Cecil “C.J.” Curtsinger swore out the complaint on Saturday, alleging that Hart took him to the back of the bus, threw him down, hit him and cursed him before a performance by the Mickey Hart Band on Sept. 7. A Mercer judge signed an arrest warrant for Hart on a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree assault on Monday.
Hart denies the allegations. He wrote on his Twitter account Thursday, "I am totally baffled by a bizarre claim of assault by me coming out of Kentucky, the home of bluegrass and a state I love dearly. Any accusation or claim of assault against me is completely false and without any basis whatsoever."
Hart, 69, was a member of the Dead from 1967 to 1971 and 1974 to 1995, when the legendary California jam band disbanded after the death of frontman Jerry Garcia. Hart continues to tour with his own band and writes books about drumming.
Curtsinger, 57, who operates CJ Starbuses Inc., could not be reached for comment this morning. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that he rented a bus to Hart for his band’s summer tour. He said he was a Grateful Dead fan and had once driven a bus for Bob Weir, another member of the band.
Curtsinger declined to comment about the alleged altercation or what started it, the newspaper reported.
Pete Cashel, owner of Terrapin Hill Farm, said Thursday the incident did not disrupt the annual musical festival and that neither festival patrons nor staff was involved or even aware the incident took place.
“Nobody said anything,” Cashel said. “It was a wonderful weekend.”
Editor's note: Todd Kleffman is a reporter for the Advocate-Messenger, a sister paper of The Journal.