Police: Middletown man died after being punched and falling off stage at bar

Police: Middletown man died after being punched and falling off stage at bar

The Middletown music community is mourning the loss of one of its members.

John Fugate, 46, a musician who booked bands at the Old Crow Bar on Jackson Lane, died Saturday morning after an incident in the bar, according to Middletown police and friends.

Fugate allegedly was punched while he was standing on stage around 1 a.m. Saturday, said Maj. Scott Reeve from the Middletown Division of Police. Fugate fell backward off the stage and hit his head on the concrete floor, Reeve said. He was transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he died, police said.


Reeve said police know who allegedly punched Fugate, but no charges have been filed. After the investigation is complete, the facts will be presented to the Butler County Grand Jury for consideration, Reeve said.

The bar posted on its Facebook page Saturday that the death of Fugate is a “devastating loss.”

Fugate had worked as a route driver for 13 years at Bonbright Distributors, said Bill Manley, vice president of operations. He said Fugate was a reliable employee. His delivery route included Hamilton and Middletown, Manley said.

He called Fugate’s death “unbelievable” and “tragic.”.

“I can’t get over it,” said Manley, his voice cracking.

Fugate had volunteered at the Old Crow since its former stage manager, John Howard, died from lung cancer last year, friends said.

Another friend, Chris Lester, owner of Lester’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Shop on Central Avenue, said he had known Fugate for about 30 years. Fugate was a frequent customer, Lester said.

Fugate’s death was “a tragic loss,” said Lester, who called Fugate a great father. “I’m heart-broken for them all.”

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