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Former Anheuser Busch CEO arrested for trying to fly helicopter while intoxicated

Ray Downs
United Press International

SWANSEA, Ill. (UPI) — August Busch IV, the former CEO of beer giant Anheuser Busch, was arrested for attempting to fly a helicopter while intoxicated, according to police.

The Busch family scion passed a breathalyzer test, but failed field sobriety tests, leading to his arrest. Police applied for urine and blood test warrants after placing Busch under arrest.

August A. Busch IV, former president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch Companies in 2008. The ex-beer baron was arrested for attempting to fly a helicopter while intoxicated. (Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

The arrest occurred after Busch landed a helicopter in a strip mall parking lot in Swansea, Ill., located about 30 minutes east of St. Louis. The strip mall contains a small parking lot with a bank and an office for the Illinois tourism bureau. Across the four-lane street is an Outback Steakhouse.

Busch exited his helicopter and didn’t return until hours later, when a witness saw him. The witness then called police to tell them that an “intoxicated male was getting into the helicopter and attempting to fly away,” the search warrant stated.

By the time police got to the strip mall, Busch had already started the engine and was spinning his rotors, about to fly into the sky.

But police stopped him by flashing their emergency lights and telling him to get out of the helicopter.

Police said Bush appeared to be under the influence of prescription drugs, describing him as “intoxicated,” “anxious,” “rambling” and “unable to keep a single train of thought,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On board, they found prescribed medication and a gun, which Busch had a permit for.

No charges have been filed against the great-grandson of Adolphus Busch, the founder of the iconic Budweiser brand.

“We have been in close communications and coordination with the FAA and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office,” said Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson, according to KITV. “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.”

Busch has had previous problems involving prescription drugs.

In 2012, he paid a $1.75 million settlement to the family of his ex-girlfriend, Adrienne Martin after she overdosed on oxycodone at his mansion in 2010.

About the Author

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Former Anheuser Busch CEO arrested for trying to fly helicopter while intoxicated