Beckles & Recher

Beckles & Recher

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Helicopter DUI? The Story You Have Read To Believe

VIA Chicago Tribune:  August Adolphus Busch IV, the former CEO of Anheuser-Busch,  had in his helicopter four loaded guns, each with a round in the  chamber, eight dogs and prescription pills when police prevented him and  his wife from taking off from a parking lot, according to police  accounts and a search warrant application filed Tuesday.

The  search warrant, signed by St. Clair County Associate Judge William  Clay, commanded Busch to give blood, urine or other bodily fluid at  Memorial Hospital in Belleville after his helicopter was found on a  parking lot in Swansea.

This was after Busch took a portable breathalyzer at the  scene, which came back negative for alcohol, according to the search  warrant.

The helicopter initially landed about 12:48 p.m.  Monday. But it was about eight hours later when a caller told police  that an “intoxicated male was getting into the helicopter and attempting  to fly away,” the search warrant stated.

Swansea  Officer Cheryl Venorsky arrived as the helicopter was preparing to take  off. Venorsky turned on her emergency lights, and the pilot, later  identified as Busch IV, shut the chopper down, the court record stated.

Officer Jason Frank then got to the scene and found Busch leaning against Venorsky’s squad car.

“I  observed August Adolphus Busch IV to be unable to keep a single train  of thought,” Frank wrote in a sworn affidavit. “I noticed August  Adolphus Busch IV appeared anxious.”

Frank then gave Busch a breathalyzer, which came back .000 for alcohol. Frank asked Busch to complete some field sobriety tests.Frank approached the helicopter and talked to Busch’s wife, Dawna M. Wood, who was seated inside.                      

“When  asked, Dawna advised August Adolphus Busch IV has anxiety issues and is  off of his medication due to recent fertility treatment. I made contact  with August Adolphus Busch IV, and I advised August Adolphus Busch IV,  and he was free to go,” Frank wrote. “Instead of departing, August  Adolphus Busch IV continued to ramble about things that were unrelated.  At that point, due to his continued ramblings, I became suspicious, and I  reinitiated my investigation.”

Frank wrote Busch continually changed subjects during their conversation.

“Taking  the totality of circumstances into consideration, I believed (Busch)  could be under the influence of a controlled substance. I advised  (Busch) he was no longer allowed to get into his helicopter and fly  away,” Frank wrote.

It was then that Busch told Frank he  had a concealed carry permit and had a Rohrbaugh R9 9mm, a handgun, in  his front pants pocket. Busch asked if Frank wanted him to take the gun  out. Frank said yes.

“As I removed the Rohrbaugh R9, (Busch) advised the Rohrbaugh R9 was ‘hot,’” Frank wrote.

Frank put the gun inside the helicopter, according to the affidavit, and called Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson.

Inside  the helicopter, police found four bottles containing prescriptions,  according to the search warrant. Two were prescribed for Busch:  Alprazolam, which is also marketed under the brand Xanax and is a minor  tranquilizer, and Clonazepam, another tranquilizer that is used to treat  panic attacks.

The other two prescription drugs were prescribed for his wife, the document showed.

At  some point, Busch told the officers that he was having an anxiety  attack and started jumping around and running sprints, saying he was  trying to get oxygen to cope with the anxiety attack.

Once  Busch calmed, he allowed Frank to pat search him, then Frank asked if  he could search the helicopter. Frank wrote that he found a pepper spray  gun, a Ruger .22 revolver, a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver and a Glock  .357 Magnum. All the guns were loaded.Busch was given a second set of field sobriety tests.

Busch was then arrested and taken to the Swansea Police Department.

Swansea  police requested the help of a drug recognition expert with the  Fairview Heights Police Department. The officer said he would need some  time to report his findings.

Frank stated that he needed  to retain the evidence collected in the investigation and possible  prosecution of Busch for reckless conduct, unlawful use of a weapon and  intoxicated person in or about an aircraft. No charges had been filed as  of Tuesday.

St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan  Kelly said Tuesday that authorities are awaiting toxicology results  before making a decision on whether to file charges.

No injuries were reported.

Busch’s wife was allowed to leave, taking the eight dogs with her, Johnson said.

Busch,  53, is a commercial pilot with certificates in airplanes, single and  multiengine planes, instrument airplanes and rotocraft helicopters.

Cameron  Wiggs, a data coordinator at OneSource in Bronze Pointe, said he and  co-workers watched the helicopter land in the office complex parking lot  off Illinois 159 on Monday afternoon.

The woman  passenger got out and walked into a nearby office building, Wiggs said.  Then, a black sport utility vehicle pulled up, and the driver and pilot  began to unload dogs from the chopper.

“There must have been seven or eight of them. All black and white. Shih tzus, maybe,” Wiggs said.

Police came an hour or two after the helicopter landed, talked to the pilot and driver, then left, Wiggs said.

Johnson  issued a news release Tuesday afternoon, stating police received a call  that a helicopter was landing for an unknown reason at 1 Bronze Point  in Swansea at 12:48 p.m. Monday. When police arrived, they found the  helicopter on the ground, too close to obstacles and buildings, Johnson  said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was contacted by Johnson and was advised that they would investigate  the landing. The FAA also requested pictures and information.

“We  have been in close communications and coordination with the FAA and the  St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office,” Johnson stated in the  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.”

Busch was released from custody before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, pending completion of the investigation, according to Johnson.

“Family members are contacting another pilot to remove the helicopter,” he stated.

A  woman in a black Audi RS7 with Missouri plates arrived about 10:30 a.m.  She left after spotting reporters, but returned and picked Busch up  about 12:45 p.m., when Busch emerged from the police department.

Busch could not be reached for comment.

The  Bell helicopter is listed to Jagger 4 LLC, a Missouri corporation. The  helicopter is registered to 18130 Edison Ave. in Chesterfield, Mo., at  the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.                                                               

August Busch IV is the  great-great-grandson of Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser-Busch in  St. Louis. He was the last Busch family member to control the huge  company before it was purchased by InBev, the Belgium-based brewing  giant, in a hostile takeover in 2008.

In 2010, Adrienne  Nicole Martin, 27, Busch’s girlfriend, was found dead at his home in  Huntleigh, Mo., at a time when Busch was in the house. A prosecutor in  St. Louis County stated that after high levels of oxycodone and cocaine  were found in her system at autopsy, her death was ruled an accidental  overdose, according to news reports.

In 2012, a lawsuit  in her death brought by Martin’s former husband was settled for $1.75  million. No charges were filed in connection with Martin’s death.

In  1983, Busch was involved in a car crash while attending the University  of Arizona that resulted in the death of a 21-year-old woman passenger.  According to news accounts, Busch left the scene and was later found by  police at his townhouse with a sawed off shotgun and in a dazed state.  Busch, who suffered a skull fracture, was not charged.

In  January, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Busch was involved  in an altercation at a bank in Key West, Fla., when a man became angry  with the way Busch had parked his car, alleging it blocked access to an  ATM. When the man confronted him, Busch allegedly pulled a licensed  handgun but kept it pointed at the ground. Busch was not charged.

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