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Beer mogul arrested for flying while drunk, breath test negative

The former CEO of Anheuser-Busch breweries was arrested earlier this week on suspicion of flying his helicopter while drunk. A portable Breathalyzer test found no alcohol in his system, but police are still seeking blood or urine test results.

No charges have been filed, but he was held overnight on allegations of reckless conduct, being intoxicated "in or about an aircraft" and unlawful use of a weapon. According to the Chicago Tribune, the helicopter was noticed Monday afternoon in a parking lot in south-central Illinois near St. Louis. About eight hours later, a caller reported an "intoxicated male was getting into the helicopter and attempting to fly away."

Police were able to prevent the former CEO and his wife from taking off and had conversations with them. The husband's speech was rambling, according to the police, and they suspected alcohol or drug use. A portable Breathalyzer tested him at 0.00 for alcohol. The wife said the husband suffered from anxiety but was off his medication because he was undergoing fertility treatments.

After field sobriety tests were performed and a few more minutes of conversation, the police say they suspected he was under the influence of a controlled substance. This suspicion seemed confirmed by the man's behavior, which continued to be unusual. At one point, he began running around and sprinting, apparently to oxygenate himself to deal with an anxiety attack.

The man was held overnight, and a warrant was issued the next day requiring him to provide a blood or urine sample.

According to the warrant application, there were a number of surprising things in the helicopter when police prevented the ex-CEO and his wife from taking off Monday night:

  • Three guns, each fully loaded with a round in the chamber
  • A loaded pepper spray gun
  • Four bottles of legally prescribed medications, including Xanax and Clonazepam
  • Eight dogs

Prosecutors are awaiting the results of the toxicology tests before determining whether to charge him. The Federal Aviation Administration is also investigating the landing of the helicopter in a parking lot.

This is not the man's first run-in with the law, although he has apparently never been convicted of a crime. He ran the Anheuser-Busch brewery until it was taken over by Belgium brewer InBev in 2008.

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