SWANSEA, Ill. (KMOV.com) – Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV was taken into police custody Monday after trying to fly his helicopter while intoxicated in Illinois, police said Tuesday.
Authorities said they found eight dogs, several guns and prescription drugs inside the helicopter. Busch IV said he has a conceal carry permit out of Missouri.
Swansea police said a helicopter landed for an unknown reason at 1 Bronze Point in Swansea around 12:50 p.m. Monday. Hours later, the pilot returned to the helicopter and a witness called police, stating the man seemed to be intoxicated. When an officer arrived, the helicopter’s rotors were spinning and the engine was revving up.
The officer used the emergency lights on the squad car and the pilot powered down the engine, according to police. A second officer arrived at scene and pilot standardized field sobriety tests were performed on the pilot. He consented to a breathalyzer, and blew a .000, according to police.
According to court documents released Wednesday morning, the second responding officer reported Busch IV appeared anxious and was “unable to keep a single train of thought.” The officer also reported that during the “walk and turn” portion of his investigation Busch IV “took 10 steps when he should have only taken nine” and “did not place his heel to toe as instructed.” The court documents also stated he “failed to lift his foot the required six inches as requested and did not properly count out loud as instructed.”
The officer then continued his investigation and made contact with Busch IV’s wife, Dawna M. Wood, who was inside the helicopter. Wood told the officer Busch IV was off his medication due to recent fertility treatments and has “anxiety issues,” according to the documents.
Following the conversation with Wood, the officer stated he told Busch IV he was free to go but, instead of leaving, Busch IV continued rambling, which prompted the officer to reinitiate the investigation.
Police said Busch seemed confused during the search and police asked if they could perform a search of him and the helicopter, to which he agreed. Police said he appeared to be under the influence of prescription medication.
After the officer told Busch IV he was no longer allowed to fly away, the pilot informed him he had a conceal carry license and had a Rohrbaugh R9 9mm that was “hot” in his front pocket. The officer removed the gun from Busch IV’s pocket and requested Chief Steve Johnson to the scene.
When the chief arrived, the responding officer received Busch IV’s consent to search him. During the search, the officer said he found a prescription bottle of Dexamethasone prescribed to Woods in his left pocket. After finding the medication, Busch IV said he was having an anxiety attack, at which time an ambulance was requested.
When Busch IV calmed down, he consented to a search of his helicopter, during which police found a Kimber Lifeact Jet Protector JPS, Ruger LCR 22 LR Revolver containing a live round in each cylinder, a Ruger SP1-1 .357 Magnum revolver and a Glock 33 Austria .357, according to the court documents. The warrant also states prescription bottles of Alprazolam and Clonazepam with Buch IV’s name were found along with various prescriptions for Woods, which she said was to assist with fertility.
Busch IV then agreed to undergo a second set of testing administered by another officer. During the testing, Busch IV showed a medical card and “had difficulty placing cards back in his wallet,” the court documents stated. The officer also stated Busch IV’s “speech was very mumbled and slurred” and he “lost focus on the stimulus multiple times.” During his second walk and turn, Busch IV "took 12 steps instead of the instructed nine" and also did "not turn around as instructed," the officer reported.
Busch was taken into custody and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office issued a search warrant for the blood, urine, breath and other bodily substances of the pilot. He has not been formally charged but the court documents state “there is probable cause to believe that the listed items to be seized are necessary to assist in the forensic testing of the evidence collected in the investigation and prosecution of August Adolphus Busch IV for the offense of reckless conduct, unlawful use of a weapon and intoxicated persons in or about an aircraft.”
“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. “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.”
The Swansea Police Department contacted Officer Birkhead with the Fairview Heights Police Department, a drug recognition expert. Officer Birkhead said it would take time to analyze and "form results" as part of the drug recognition expert examination.
Busch was released from custody on Tuesday afternoon, police said.
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