Former Anheuser Busch CEO Augustus Adolphus Busch IV has a private helicopter, and he’s not afraid to fly it. At 12:48 p.m. Monday, Augie landed his whirlybird in Swansea, Illinois. Eight hours later someone called the Swansea police to report an “intoxicated male was getting into the helicopter and attempting to fly away.” Attempting? Uh-oh . . .

Swansea police officer Cheryl Venorsky arrived as Busch was preparing to take off. She turned on her emergency lights, prompting him to shut down the helicopter.

Officer Jason Frank then arrived on scene and “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.”

According to dailycaller.com, Augie blew 0.0 in a subsequent breathalyzer test. And then the former beer baron blew it. He told Officer Frank that he was packing a Rohrbaugh R9 9mm, for which he had a carry permit.

Officer Frank didn’t ask Mr. Busch if he had changed the recoil spring within the recommended 200-round count. He simply placed the gun in Mr. Busch’s chopper and called Swansea Police Chief Steve Johnson.

Johnson arrived on scene and the police conducted a search of Busch’s helicopter that yielded four bottles of prescription pills, two of which were anxiety medications prescribed to Busch, and the remaining two were prescribed to his wife.

At some point during the search Busch became agitated, telling officers he was having a panic attack and running sprints, saying he was trying to get oxygen to combat his panic attack.

The Daily Caller report says the Chief proceeded to pat search Mr Busch. Meanwhile, Officer Frank discovered “a pepper spray gun, a Ruger .22 revolver, a Ruger .357 Magnum revolver and a Glock .357 Magnum, all of which were loaded” inside the ‘copter.

Fake news! GLOCK doesn’t make a .357 Magnum. (They sell a handgun chambered in .357 SIG.) Which discredits all of the police officers’ testimony, obvs.

Then again, we can hardly blame the cops for missing a trick of two, what with eight dogs in the helicopter, as well.

I’m giving Mr. Busch the IGOTD gong for carrying while [presumably] drug-addled. Or undrugged; Mr. Busch’s wife Dawna (also on scene) told the cops that her husband was off of his medication due to recent fertility treatment.

And then there’s the issue of Mr. Busch’s decision to allow the cops to search his helicopter without a search warrant. Which is irresponsible for any American.

Anyway, I don’t think Mr. Busch will face criminal charges. Or if he does, he’ll get off lightly.

Just as he did in the auto accident death of Michele Frederick and the OD death of Adrienne Nicole Martin (for which he paid out $1.75m). And the time he brandished his pistol during an “altercation” with a customer at a Key West bank — yet another incident for which he wasn’t charged.  

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68 Responses to Former Anheuser Busch CEO Augustus Adolphus Busch IV: Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day

  1. “While Officer Frank didn’t ask if Mr. Busch if he had changed the recoil spring within the recommended 200-round count.”

    Incomplete sentence. ‘If’ used twice.

    Thanks for trying to destroy independent breweries, Mr. Busch. Stop abusing your meds.

    • I figured they would have big, beautiful bay Belgians to pull that wagon instead of Clydesdales by now.

      And, it seems, we are experiencing a renaissance of microbreweries now, which I enjoy as often as possible. The tasteless yellow water coming out of St. Louis and Milwaukee is a joke.

      As for Mr. Silver Spoon here, I think the word “entitled” is insufficient to describe him.

      • Incorrect. Most of the family wanted to sell. August IV was one of the few exceptions, and almost saved the company. Unfortunately, he was blocked by his father. I explained it in another post, but it is stuck in moderation.

        • Except for the deal IV had sitting on his desk to buy the other half of Modelo. It would have made the company too expensive for InBev, which was relying on loans from money freshly injected into the banks via the 2008 bailout. So, they used our own tax dollars to buy an American company and terminate thousands of American jobs. IV wanted to stop it, but his daddy and Stokes wouldn’t let him execute the deal. I think that would be enough to send me into a hellish depression too…

        • If he had completed the Grupo Modelo buyout, that would have just forced InBev’s hand, there were contingencies in place to deal with that if A-B did complete the purchase (which InBev eventually did anyway in ’13).

          I like the romanticized view of the black sheep trying to save the family dynasty. My point is that big people wanted that company (or wanted a premium for their A-B stock). The Busch family didn’t control enough stock to stop that train, and Auggie was (at best) delusional continuing to bail the boat as the tide came over the gunwhales.

        • As a member of the family, would you rather hold onto it, though it would be run by Auggie, or would you rather sell, spreading your investments a bit wider? His father’s choice was obvious. The unusual behavior did not only occur after the sale.

    • Funny, none of the independent breweries Imbev bought out ever turned down or gave away the money.

      Everybody’s a sellout, until the check has your name on it.

    • Last I heard he’s laid off having rock-star bowls of blow distributed throughout the house, and apparently the new wife has gotten him to not randomly discharge large caliber hunting rifles in the house (he lives in the well-heeled ‘burbs btw).

      Between high-speed pursuits from the FBI back in the ’80s, to some more obscure stuff during HS/college, to his antics of the last 5-8 years, maybe. I long ago decided to beg off opportunities to hang in that circle, I don’t have the means, and one never wishes to be the poorest guy in a crowd of super rich (and powerful) kids – if something goes wrong, you can be sure who will get the blame.

    • “He sounds like he would be fun to party with.”

      Heh. 😉

      Auggie Bush is a bit of a local fixture down here in central Florida.

      When it was a ‘thing’, the ‘Miss Budweiser’ unlimited hydroplane was based here, another one of the Busch ‘toys’.

      Yeah, he has quite the rep as a partier. He’s gonna regret this one though, he can flush his pilot license right down the toilet…

      • I was kicking that around with friends today, and we think the FAA just may do him in. Guaranteed if you’re little people, but when your attorneys have the top half of D.C. on speed dial, well, I’m on the fence on whether to take that bet.

        • The FAA seems to enjoy being pricks about enforcement.

          Google “Bob Hoover” and what he went through. Hoover had a *lot* of very wealthy folks (the kind of serious money you see at the National air races in Reno racing warbirds) on his side and it took him a few years to pry it loose from the FAA.

          With Auggie’s history of abuse, he’s in for a ride…

  2. yeah, do youself a favor sometime if you are for capital punishment and lookup how many people who make over 500,000 a year have been put to death. the death sentence is ONLY for us poor people. if sandusky was poor like us, he would be on death row, no doubt. the system is rigged, in every way to benefit the “haves”.

  3. He wasn’t drunk? Too bad. I was recalling fondly Jim Backus’ marvelous turn as airplane owner Tyler Fitzgerald in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” in 1963. Oh, well.

  4. The local news initially reported that he was intoxicated and in possession of multiple illegal firearms. FAKE NEWS abounds!

    Not to defend spoiled dynasty babies, but The Fourth has had a rough go as far as multi-millionaires are concerned. Daddy never loved him, and was so intent on destroying his own father’s legacy that he snatched the company right out from under his son and sold it to foreigners. For those who didn’t know, IV had a deal on his desk to buy the other half of Modelo, ready to be signed. His father and Patrick Stokes, then chairman of the board, blocked him from executing the deal. It would have saved tens of thousands of jobs and retained American ownership of an American icon. Very sad stuff!

    The resulting descent into depression and drug abuse was also sad. Although if you ever saw a picture of Adrienne Martin, she looked like she was made for snorting coke. Having lost my best friend to Leukemia in our early 20’s, I don’t have much sympathy for people who overdose on drugs. Some people don’t get to live while others throw it away.

  5. The irony of this POS publicly denouncing the NRA when he has a stack of dead girlfriends and unprosecuted weapons charges in his wake.

    • RF, my comments posted from my Macbook are hung up in moderation again. Please release them. People are bashing the wrong Busch on the NRA thing. They’re confusing August IV with his uncle Adolphus IV.

  6. You can get away with an awful lot when you’re rich. If that was an everyday ordinary person like myself I would be in jail.

  7. # IV in the line. At this point mega-rich families seem to run out of quality sperm and begin producing dolts.
    This is bad for those near them but good for the economy as they squander the wealth of their great grandfather.

  8. Money, helicopters, dogs, guns, Xanax, women, what’s not to like!!!

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

  9. Sounds more like an idiot helicopter owner of the day, but I guess it’s the wrong blog for that.

    “And then there’s the issue of Mr. Busch’s decision to allow the cops to search his helicopter without a search warrant. Which is irresponsible for any American.”

    There is nothing in the article to indicate that the search was consensual. The police may have had probable cause which would mean they don’t need consent for the search. Actually, since it was involving weapons, they may have needed an even lower burden to poke around in there. Not to mention that there is something called ‘inventory search’ where the police search any vehicle that they are taking custody of- i.e. towing a car away after a DUI. I’m not entirely sure what they did with the chopper but I’m guessing the same principle would apply.

    • He has a valid MO CCW permit. Which, while not valid to carry in IL, does allow for you to keep the gun inside the vehicle. Whether this extends to da choppa or not, well, his lawyers will get it taken care of.

    • The ‘chopper is probably still impounded until the conclusion of the case.

      I expect to see it listed for sale in the near future, unless he hires someone to pilot it…

      • I heard on the locals that Auggies’s people were hiring a pilot to retrieve it, but that was shortly after it happened. Haven’t seen the locals today.

  10. I knew I remembered this guy.

    I’d throw the book at him but as a member of the rich and famous club, it would never stick. After all, when hospitals destroy or lose evidence for you, well, even OJ didn’t get that level of help.

    • He was packing one of his four pistols. The three in the chopper should be okay, but wearing one while outside your “vehicle” is not if you are not an IL licensed resident.

        • “Okey. Thanks. Cause none of the rest of it sounds illegal.”

          The Feds are now taking a look at this one, and they take a *very* strong interest in suspicion of intoxicated operators of aircraft.

          That he has valid prescriptions for them matters not a whit, he’s supposed to self-ground himself if what he was taking was impacting his performance, and the witnesses said he looked intoxicated, that was the reason for the police being called in the first place…

        • Did he actually fly the helicopter, or was he waiting for a panic attack to subside first? Sitting in a helicopter in any condition is not a crime. Had he taken any of the anti-anxiolytics? He’d he taken too few? Had he taken too many? You have no idea.

        • The answer to that depends on how the statute is written. DWI is defined in some states as “operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle, etc.,” and that has been construed by some courts as merely being behind the wheel while intoxicated. In some places, the vehicle doesn’t even have to be running.

        • In that same vein, did he have the gun in his pocket before he got back in the helicopter, or did he put it back in his pocket once he got in and forgot to remove it when he got out to talk to the officer? Pretty sure I could beat charges on this one, and I’m not a multimillionaire.

        • ” Sitting in a helicopter in any condition is not a crime.”

          Incorrect. You can be successfully prosecuted for DUI if you were drunk but in the back seat sleeping it off. (Here in Florida, and a number of other states.)

          You are considered in control of the vehicle even if the keys were not in the ignition.

          From the linked ‘Daily Caller’ article:

          “Swansea police officer Cheryl Venorsky arrived as Busch was preparing to take off. She turned on her emergency lights, prompting him to shut down the helicopter.”

          The turbine was running.

          Bush was in control of the aircraft. He has *serious* legal trouble…

  11. Definition (14 CFR 91.17)

    Flying under the influence laws in the US(FUI) are outlined in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS), which is governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The legal definition of flying under the influence mandates that “no person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft-

    within 8 hours after drinking alcohol;
    while under the influence of alcohol;
    while using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety; or
    while having an alcohol concentration [BAC] of 0.04 or greater in a blood or breath specimen.

      • “No evidence is provided that he violated this law.”

        Yes, there is. The cops were called to the scene because someone saw him appearing intoxicated and about to operate the aircraft. The officer’s report confirmed that observation.

        Busch has big problems. The FAA *loves* to make examples of the people doing something like this. Pilots are supposed to be on their honor and self-ground themselves if they are not at 100 percent condition.

        They don’t want you flying even if all you are taking is over-the-counter Actifed. Even with his fat Rolodex of high-powered attorneys I doubt he’s gonna skate on this one. His medical is likely gone, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the FAA felony prosecute him for operating an aircraft under the influence…

        • This is what I suspect they will nail him on:

          “while using any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety;…”

    • Sounds to me that they are claiming that he was trying to fly while not under the influence of drugs that keep him from acting batshit crazy.

    • I think he was kidding about that credibility thing. I would agree with you, though, that’s a pretty minor point and not something I would hold against someone. After all, as I understand it, the .357 Sig cartridge was designed specifically to provide .357 magnum performance in a semi-auto.

      I could see how someone speaking loosely might generally equate them, but it isn’t a credibility crushing offense. Now, something like calling an AR a machine gun or an automatic rifle, would be.

  12. I love all Augie Busch (pick one, any of them) stories but my favorite is still why Harry Carey was run out of St Louis to Chicago where he became famous.

    • I agree. If you listen to the Artie Quitter podcast, by Artie Lange, Artie and his co-host Dan Falato (who worked with Harry Carey) recounted that entire story. Along with Artie doing a hilarious impression of Harry Carey.

  13. I had *no* idea more than a few of ya’ll keep up on Busch kin details like they’re the Windsors.
    I tapped out of a serious beer-sampling hobby some time ago, after finding my own personal liquid Grail; a house dunkelweizen in a tiny isolated Pfalz village, I knew I’d never find near it’s equal, and I’d go double-broke (liver & wallet) looking for a reasonable facsimile. So I quit while I was ahead.

    • Meh, I’ve spent about 25 years in and out of STL. Restaurant biz, bar biz, he ran with some of the rich kids I went to high school with, I’ve shot trap and skeet with a couple of distributorship owners, a few VPs were regulars, I knew a coupla brewers, dated a few sales reps. It was really hard to avoid A-B employees..

      If you know anything or anyone in the STL, it’s really hard not to know of Auggie’s extra-legal shenanigans, and the deets of the takeover.

  14. Maybe the FAA will come down on his ticket hard. As a fixed wing and rotor-craft pilot, I can tell you that 99.9% of other pilots take a very dim view of folks flying or trying to fly when they have no business being near an aircraft, except maybe an RC plane.

  15. Someone above posted “Bush was in control of the aircraft. He has *serious* legal trouble…”…billionaires don’t have serious legal trouble unless the monthly check to their lawyers bounces.

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