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Former Anheuser-Busch CEO arrested for attempting to fly drunk

The 53-year-old former CEO of Anheuser-Busch brewing was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of trying to fly a helicopter under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Any charges to be filed are pending the return of toxicology tests.

The former CEO and his wife were arrested on Monday. Shortly before 1 p.m. that day, a helicopter was reported as parked in a parking lot in Swansea, Illinois, which is just outside St. Louis, Missouri. Some eight hours later, someone called police to report an “intoxicated male was getting into the helicopter and attempting to fly away.”

Police were able to signal the pilot to remain on the ground and interview him. It was the former CEO of the Anheuser-Busch company, who was traveling with his wife. Inside the helicopter, police also found eight dogs, four apparently legal bottles of prescription pills, a loaded pepper spray gun and three other loaded guns.

According to the Chicago Tribune, police initially suspected alcohol when the ex-CEO’s behavior was unusual. He seemed anxious, and his conversation was rambling and off-topic. He was, however, rational enough to let the officer know he had a concealed carry permit and a loaded gun in his pocket. The man is a licensed pilot with certificates in rotocraft helicopters, airplanes, single and multiengine planes and instrument airplanes.

A portable breath test was administered and returned a 0.00 response. Two sets of field sobriety tests were administered. During a police interview, the man’s wife said he suffered from anxiety but was off his medication for fertility treatments. At one point in the interview, the man began sprinting around and jumping in an effort to stave off anxiety.

The man was arrested and held overnight. The following day, a warrant was issued for a blood or urine sample.

Again, no charges had been filed as of Tuesday, when the Chicago Tribune piece was published. The man could be charged for reckless conduct, unlawful use of a weapon and intoxicated person in or about an aircraft.

Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the improper parking of the helicopter.

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