He's a legendary drummer, a member of The Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, and now he's a wanted man in the state of Kentucky.
Police in Mercer County issued an arrest warrant this week for Mickey Hart, whose real name is Michael Hartman. He's the former drummer of The Grateful Dead. The misdemeanor assault case is drawing national attention.
The gates to Terrapin Hill Farm were closed today but last week thousands of festival goers walked through them to see The Mickey Hart Band. The Friday concert seemed to be trouble free but on Saturday the man in charge of Hart's tour bus, CJ Curtsinger, told police the hall of fame drummer had assaulted him before going on stage.
"He was told Mr. Hart wanted to meet with him on the bus. Mr. Hart asked Mr. Curtsinger to go to the back of the bus and that's when the assault took place," said Deputy Sheriff Wes Gaddis of the Mercer County Sheriff's Department.
Curtsinger owns a bus company based out of Nicholasville. By phone he said he was waiting to make a full statement on the incident.
"I just know he went off, don't know what set him off. He hit me several times," said Curtsinger.
The story has been reported on the websites of TMZ, Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.
In a statement to Rolling Stone Hart said "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. I played drums on 'Shakedown Street,' but I never expected to be 'The Victim or the Crime.'"
The criminal complaint was filed on Saturday. At that time Hart was already on his way out of the state. The arrest warrant was signed on Monday. Sheriff's officials say because there's no extradition on misdemeanor charges in Kentucky there's no way to bring Hart back from California into the commonwealth.
Fourth degree assault is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
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