Commerce Secretary Accused Of Hit-And-Run In California

U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson was cited with a hit-and-run violation over the weekend in a controversy that could cost him his cabinet position as well as his freedom. Bryson is accused of hitting one car that was waiting for a train to pass and then hitting a second car on his way home. He was found unconscious in his vehicle and hospitalized. It is standard not to arrest a suspect if he is hospitalized. There is no report of alcohol or drugs being involved in the incidents, which occurred in the early evening.


Bryson was driving a Lexus around 5 pm when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick at a train crossing. He reportedly stopped to speak with the three men in the Buick. However, he struck the Buick a second time on his way out and was followed by the men (who called 911). He allegedly crashed into a second vehicle near an intersection and was found unconscious near that scene.

The facts of the incident do not fit a conventional hit and run. The absence of alcohol or drugs and his stopping at the first accident distinguish the case. There is a possible defense. Some concussions are not immediately evident to a victim, who can function for a short time. He may also claim that he was afraid of the men in the Buick and was leaving for his own safety. There is also the possibility that the second hit on the first car was so minor that he did not notice it before proceeding on his way. However, on its face, it looks pretty bad. The police say that he is cooperating so he must have spoken with them — yet, they proceeded to charge him with hit-and-run.

Bryson was chairman of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison for 18 years until 2008. At one time, before his business career, Bryson was an environmental lawyer and, to his credit, he was a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The NRDC is credited with a number of major environmental litigation victories.

Unless there is a strong medical defense, it will be hard for Bryson to hold on to his cabinet position — particularly in an election year. This is of course a terrible time for Obama to lose a commerce secretary in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis. It would also put his replacement in the unenviable position of seeking confirmation in an election year.

Source: LA Times

27 thoughts on “Commerce Secretary Accused Of Hit-And-Run In California”

  1. Who says it was a seizure? Maybe he was just stressed. If he was having a seizure, how could he have talked to the three men in the Buick?

  2. “Bryson was driving a Lexus around 5 pm when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick at a train crossing. He reportedly stopped to speak with the three men in the Buick. However, he struck the Buick a second time on his way out and was followed by the men (who called 911). He allegedly crashed into a second vehicle near an intersection and was found unconscious near that scene.”

    Dosen’t matter what he was driving.there’s something wrong with this picture.

  3. Figures Rove would jump on it, I was waiting for the tying it to the Prez as well. These people are pigs. I actually am glad Rove did this, it further shows what kind of people they are. Just a shame there is the ability to delete a tweet.

  4. Hypoglycemia and migraines, for instance, can cause non epileptic seizures.

  5. One seizure in the past would not place him in the same category as an epileptic, and ,therefore, a physician would not ordinarily tell him to restrict his driving. Now he is facing at a different situation.

  6. Here in MN, a person with a history of seizures has to be on medication and seizure-free for one year before being allowed to drive again.

  7. Otteray Scribe, States vary on this. If he had not had a seizure in four years, he probably would be okay to drive in most states. I think Texas has a one year rule.

  8. If this is not the first seizure event for him, there seems to be a public interest issue in his driving in the first place. Anyone with a known uncontrolled seizure disorder has no business driving.

  9. Elaine, He should be viewed sympathetically not attacked for having a disorder. Some even want to blame Obama.

  10. Karl Rove’s Super PAC Jumps To Conclusions, Launches Attack On Commerce Secretary Who Suffered From Seizure
    By Annie-Rose Strasser on Jun 11, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/11/497199/karl-roves-super-pac-jumps-to-conclusions-launches-attack-on-commerce-secretary-who-suffered-from-seizure/

    Excerpt:
    American Crossroads, the Super PAC run by former Bush adviser Karl Rove personally attacked Commerce Secretary John Bryson Monday morning, following his involvement in three car crashes.

    As it turns out, Sec. Bryson had a seizure while at the wheel this weekend, leading to three separate collisions in the space of a few minutes.

    In a tweet that has since been deleted, the group suggested that reports of Bryson’s car accidents involved alcohol use…

    Bryson was given medication to treat his seizure after Saturday’s events. ABC news also reports that Bryson’s episode is not totally unprecedented: four years ago, the Secretary passed out during a board meeting and was taken to the hospital.

  11. Like Zimmerman, have to wait until all the facts are in, but I wonder also if he had a TIA (momentary stroke-like). It is odd that he spoke with the people after the first time he hit that car and they didnt call cops til second hit. Too much info missing to come to conclusions (though I am sure Fox is already jumping all over it.)

  12. Sounds like a medical issue, since he was found unconscious after the second collision. I hope he’s okay.

    (I once drove myself home after getting sick on the job. I passed out while eastbound on one freeway, and came to westbound on another. I had driven 10 miles and changed freeways twice while unconscious. It doesn’t have to be a stroke.)

  13. you’ll notice- unlike the political right -democrat’s will not swarm to his defense with allegation’s of a witch hunt and blame Bush.(think Zimmerman)
    this is his to deal with.

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