Nicholasville tour bus operator claims ex-Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart hit and pushed him

gkocher1@herald-leader.comSeptember 14, 2012 

Mickey Hart and his band will play the Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival.


A Nicholasville tour bus operator claims that ex-Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart hit and pushed him, according to an arrest warrant filed with the Harrodsburg Police Department.

C.J. Curtsinger of C.J. Starbuses Inc. said in a sworn written statement filed Sept. 8 that the alleged incident happened on Sept. 7 in Mercer County. The Mickey Hart Band performed that night at the Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival near Harrodsburg.

"I was outside the bus he (Hart) was renting from me," Curstinger writes in the statement. "His manager said he (Hart) wanted me to go in the bus. He (Hart) wanted to talk to me."

When Curstinger went inside the bus, he and Hart went to the back of the bus, the complaint says. Curtsinger said Hart grabbed him and threw him down. Hart started cursing Curtsinger and "pushing me around, then told me to get off my bus," Curtsinger wrote in the complaint.

The warrant seeks Hart's arrest for fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and up to a year in jail.

Contacted Friday night, Curtsinger said he did not have anything to add to the criminal complaint, but he said he would say more next week.

Hart, 69, denied that the assault happened in tweets this week and in a statement to Rolling Stone magazine's Web site.

"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," Hart said in the statement. "Any accusation or claim of assault against me is completely false and without any basis whatsoever."

Contacted Friday night, Curtsinger said he was treated at a Lexington hospital, but he did not specify which one. He declined to describe his injury or injuries.

"I really don't have anything to say at the present time," Curtsinger said. "I've been at the hospital; I'm back home."

Asked what prompted the alleged assault, Curtsinger said, "It's been a week today and I'm still trying to figure it out. He sent for me, then he grabbed me and it went from there."

Asked what Hart allegedly said to him, Curtsinger said: "You couldn't print it. It was unbelievable."

Hart played with the Grateful Dead from 1967-71 and again from 1974 until the group dissolved in 1995, according to Rolling Stone.

On the warrant, Hart's name is listed as "Michael Steven Hartman aka Mickey Hart."

C.J. Starbuses was incorporated in 2003, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State's Web site. The site lists Terry Curtsinger as president; C.J. Curtsinger said the company is owned by his wife.

Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafetyGreg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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