BETHALTO -- A physician who is chairman of the St. Louis Regional Airport Authority is facing charges of drunken driving, impersonating a police officer and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
Dr. Charles Earnshaw Jr. of Alton was charged Tuesday. He was arrested Saturday night in the drive-through lane of an Arby's restaurant in Bethalto. Earnshaw had veered off Illinois Route 140, crossed a grass strip and struck a mailbox in front of the restaurant with his pickup just before 10 p.m., said Bethalto Police Chief Alan Winslow.
When officers arrived and asked Earnshaw, 58, to perform sobriety tests, Earnshaw allegedly pulled out a phony badge and said he was a deputy, police said. While searching him, officers found a loaded 9 mm Glock pistol in his boot and an empty vodka bottle in his jacket pocket, Winslow said.
He would not say whether Earnshaw, who told police his address was in the 600 block of Grant Street, in Bethalto, had agreed to take the sobriety test.
Earnshaw spent the night in the Bethalto police holding cell and posted a $1,500 cash bond the next morning.
The criminal charges against him had nothing to do with his conduct as chairman of the airport board, said Dean Sweet, the board's attorney. The board oversees St. Louis Regional Airport in Bethalto. Four board members are appointed by the mayors in each of the airport's taxing districts -- Alton, Bethalto, East Alton and Wood River -- said David C. Miller, the airport's manager. Three other members are appointed by the Madison County chairman. Earnshaw was appointed by Alton Mayor Donald Sandidge.
Efforts to reach Earnshaw, his attorney and Sandidge were not successful Wednesday.
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