The U.S. Secretary of Commerce will reportedly take a leave of absence following a series of car accidents that took place in Los Angeles last weekend. The incidents were reportedly caused by Commerce Secretary John Bryson previously-unknown health issues, which also motivated his decision to temporarily leave his government position.
The series of car accidents began when Bryson was driving alone in his personal vehicle in San Gabriel, California. Although he has little recollection of the incidents, he is believed to have suffered a seizure behind the wheel, causing him to collide with a vehicle that was stopped for a passing train. The occupants of that car said that Bryson spoke briefly to them and then drove away, crashing into their vehicle again as he left the scene. The driver followed Bryson’s vehicle, while calling the police, and reportedly saw him crash into a second car. Bryson was then found unconscious behind the wheel.
A Breathalyzer test administered after the crashes did not detect any alcohol, but police are reportedly waiting on the results from a blood test. Bryson may be charged with hit and run or other offenses depending on the outcome of that test and other medical evidence that definitively indicated whether he had a seizure.
If Bryson is found to have been medically unconscious due to a seizure or other ailment, it is unlikely that he will be held liable for the accidents. Under California law, a person generally cannot drive if he or she has had a seizure in the previous three months.
Bryson was reportedly home in Los Angeles to speak at his children’s school graduation ceremony No one in the other vehicles was seriously injured in the accidents.
Source: NJ.com, “U.S. Commerce Secretary taking leave of absence after suffering seizure connected to 2 car accidents,” June 12, 2012