Former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Adolphus Busch IV was detained in Swansea, Illinois, after he allegedly tried to pilot a helicopter while seemingly intoxicated.
The bizarre incident began Monday afternoon, when Swansea Police officers responded to reports of a helicopter landing in an office complex parking lot for an “unknown reason,” according to a department press release.
Officers deferred the investigation to the Federal Aviation Administration, until later that night when a caller said the pilot had returned to the chopper and “appeared too intoxicated to take off.” That pilot turned out to be Busch ― the last member of his family to have control of the Anheuser-Busch company before it changed hands in 2008 ― according to the Belleville News-Democrat.
When officers arrived, they found Busch in the helicopter, with the rotors spinning and “engine revving up.” He was promptly given a field sobriety test and taken into custody, and KMOV reports that he blew a 0.000. The outlet also said police found several guns and prescription drugs inside the helicopter during a subsequent search.
Busch wasn’t charged. He was released Tuesday pending the results of a blood test, which will determine if he was intoxicated. Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson told HuffPost that Busch could be charged if prosecutors can prove he was intoxicated at the time.
“We have been in close communications and coordination with the FAA and the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office,” Johnson said in a press release. “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 FAA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Busch has had a number of bizarre and tragic run-ins with police. In 2010, his girlfriend Adrienne Nicole Martin was found dead at his mansion in Huntleigh, Missouri. The death was ruled an accidental overdose after Oxycodone and cocaine were found in her system, according to reports at the time. No charges were filed in the case, but Busch paid $1.75 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Martin’s former husband.
In 1983, Busch was involved in a car crash in Arizona that killed his passenger, a 21-year-old woman, according to the News-Democrat. Busch reportedly left the scene, and police found him at his townhouse with a sawed-off shotgun. He was not charged.