Boeing South Carolina official arrested on DUI charge
A longtime Boeing official who leads 1,700 employees working on the company’s 787 Dreamliner was arrested last month on charges that he crashed his BMW during an episode of confused drunkenness, according to a Mount Pleasant police report.
William Geary, who directs the mid-body unit at Boeing’s facility in North Charleston, told officers that he had been drinking with his boss at a downtown restaurant after leaving work July 13. His supervisor was not identified in the report.
Early on July 14, after crashing his car into a concrete divider on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, Geary seemed disoriented and later provided a breath sample that indicated a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent, the report said.
Geary, who does not have a previous arrest history in South Carolina, posted $2,200 bail and was released from jail later that day.
He could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Attempts to contact Candy Eslinger, a spokeswoman for Boeing South Carolina, also were unsuccessful.
Geary started working with Boeing after graduating in 1986 from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., with a degree in mechanical engineering. Before moving to the Lowcountry he served as general manager of Boeing’s operation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which designed and manufactured Dreamliner and other 700-series aircraft components.
In North Charleston, Geary took over a 787 midsection assembly facility that Boeing bought from the Global Aeronautica joint venture in 2008 and 2009. The unit, which provides fuselage components for every 787 Boeing makes here and in Everett, Wash., had been struggling to meet deadlines, contributing to production delays.
“This building was the No. 1 problem on the program,” Geary said on April 27, when the local plant rolled out its first completed Dreamliner. Now, according to Geary, Building 88-20 is “a model of what can be done.”
While touring media through his unit’s assembly lines that day, Geary vowed to run a tight ship. He said he is measured at Boeing primarily on “rate achievement,” which means churning out fuselages for 10 airplanes per month by the end of next year.
“It’s just about us staying focused,” Geary said.
During his July arrest, Geary told authorities that he left work about 7 p.m., then ate dinner with his boss at Halls Chophouse on King Street in downtown Charleston. During and after the meal, he said he drank three beers and one liquor beverage, according to the Mount Pleasant Police Department.
Around 2:20 a.m. on July 14, officers found his car with severe front-end damage after it crashed head-on into a median barrier on southbound U.S. Highway 17 near the Interstate 26 interchange.
Geary told police he was traveling to his home on Overcreek Court when he got into the wreck, but he couldn’t explain why he was driving in the opposite direction, away from Mount Pleasant, the incident report stated. Officers wrote that he seemed disoriented.
“Geary did not know how he got into an accident and seemed very confused,” an officer wrote in a report.
Airbags in his sedan had deployed, and Geary was complaining of a chin contusion, though he declined to be hospitalized.
He cooperated with officers, who gave Geary a sobriety test.
The officers noted that his eyes were glazed, his speech was slurred and he had difficulty balancing. He struggled to recite a portion of the alphabet.
According to the report, when asked later whether alcohol affected his driving ability, Geary showed his handcuffs to the police officer, and said, “Obviously.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.