Ex-Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch tries to drive helicopter drunk, arrested

You drink, you fly, you lose.
august busch, budweiser ceo drunk
August Adolphus Busch was arrested for allegedly trying to drive a helicopter drunk. Photo: Twitter/Alexis Zotos

An heir to the “King of Beers” fortune was arrested for allegedly trying to fly his helicopter drunk.

 

August Adolphus Busch IV, 53, was the last of the Busch family to control Anheuser-Busch, the brewing company that made Budweiser, which his family had run for 156 years. Busch sold the company in 2008 after two years at the helm to Belgium-based InBev, a deal that earned him a reported $100 million.

 

Police arrested Busch Monday night as he was powering up the engines on his chopper, where Busch was preparing to take off with his wife and eight of their dogs. Police allegedly found four guns and prescription pills in the helicopter, the Daily Mail reported.

 

“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,” Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson said in a statement.

 

Police were called to an office park in Swansea, Illinois around 1 p.m. on Monday after a helicopter landed close to buildings, but the pilot was nowhere to be found by the time police arrived on scene.

Police assessed the area and decided it would be unsafe for the helicopter to take off because of its proximity to obstacles and called the Federal Aviation Administration, according to a department press release.

Seven hours later, the pilot returned to the helicopter, but a citizen called Swansea Police after noticing the pilot, who was later determined to be Busch, appeared too intoxicated to fly.

Police nearly missed Busch again, arriving as the helicopter rotors were spinning and Busch was revving up the engines.

Busch reportedly powered down the engines after an officer turned on a squad car’s emergency lights.

Busch performed standard field sobriety tests and was eventually taken into custody “due to a totality of the circumstances.”

The St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office issued a search warrant for the blood, urine, breath or Busch’s other bodily fluids. Busch was transported to a local hospital where this was performed.

The helicopter was finally flown out on Wednesday.

Busch was held overnight and released without charges pending the completion of the investigation.

This isn’t Busch’s first run-in with the law — in 1983 he reportedly fled the scene of a car crash that killed a 21-year-old female passenger. Busch was not charged and he tested negative for drugs or alcohol. In 2010 he was questioned after his 27-year-old girlfriend was found dead in his home. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose and Busch was not charged, but he paid $1.75 million to the woman’s family in a wrongful death suit.

 
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