Illinois

August Busch IV, ex-CEO of Anheuser-Busch, arrested for trying to fly helicopter while intoxicated

The former CEO of Anheuser-Busch, August Adolphus Busch IV, was arrested after he landed a helicopter in an Illinois business park Monday afternoon and returned appearing too intoxicated to take off, officials said Tuesday. 

Swansea Police said in a Facebook post officers were dispatched to to a report of a helicopter landing for an unknown reason around 12:40 p.m., and were concerned about the aircraft taking off again "due to close obstacles and buildings." Chief Steve Johnson contacted the FAA at the time, and they advised they would investigate the landing. 

About 7 hours later, police said they received a call saying the pilot, identified as Busch, "appeared too intoxciated to take off." The helicopter’s rotors were spinning and the engine was revving up when an officer arrived on the scene. The arrivng officer then turned on the emergency lights on the squad car, and the pilot powered down the engine. Busch's wife, Dawna Wood, was with him at the time, in addition to eight dogs in the helicopter. 

After a second officer arrived on the scene, Swansea Police administed a standardized field sobriety test. Busch appeared unable to keep a single train of thought, and his speech appeared mumbling and slurred but he blew a .000 on a breathalyzer test, FOX 2 St. Louis reported, citing court records. 

His wife told officers Busch has anxiety issues and is off his medication because of recent fertility treatments, according records obtained by FOX 2. 

Officers also believed Busch may have been under the influence of a controlled substance, according to court records.

The 53-year-old then told officers that he had a conceal carry license and had a Rohrbaugh R9 9mm gun in the front pocket of his pants, adding that the weapon was “hot.”  Busch then removed the gun from his pocket.

Officers also found Dexamethasone, which is used to treat inflammatory conditions such as allergies, in his pocket, but the prescription was for Busch's wife, court records obtained by FOX 2 said. 

A further search of the helicopter turned up several loaded weapons, including a loaded Ruger LCR 22 LR revolver, and several bottles of prescription drugs. 

After officials gave Busch more sobriety tests, they said he was unable to focus and placed him under arrest. The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office then issued a search warrant for blood, urine, breath or other bodily substances from Busch, who was then transported to a local hospital.

“We have been in close communications and coordination with the FAA and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office. This is not your normal case that a street police officer handles. The safety and security of the community, the pilot and passenger were of the utmost concern,” said Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson in a Facebook post.

Busch is the former head of Anheuser-Busch,.and ran the brewing giant from 2006 until it was bought out two years later, according to the St. Louis Dispatch.

Busch was released from the Swansea Police Department at 12:30 pm Tuesday, and no charges have yet to be filed in connection with the incident.  Police said family members are contacting another pilot to remove the helicopter.

Read more from FOX 2 St. Louis.