Commerce Secretary Cited For Hit-And-Run After Car Crashes

Commerce Secretary John Bryson has been “cited for felony hit-and-run” after he was involved in a series of traffic accidents in California’s San Gabriel Valley, the Los Angeles Times writes.

Much is still unclear about what happened and whether formal charges will be brought against him, but according to a statement from the San Gabriel Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the incident began at 5:05 p.m. local time on Saturday:

“Bryson was allegedly travelling southbound in a Lexus on San Gabriel Boulevard and rear-ended a Buick occupied by three males that was stopped on the street awaiting a passing train. Bryson spoke with the males, then left the scene, hitting the same car again as he left the scene. The three males followed him in their car while calling San Gabriel Police officers via 911 and asking for assistance.

“Bryson drove into the neighboring city of Rosemead. Rosemead is policed by the Temple Sheriff’s Station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“Bryson then allegedly caused a collision involving a second car at about 5:10 PM while driving southbound on San Gabriel Boulevard at Hellman Avenue in the city of Rosemead, where he was found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle. He was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County Fire paramedics and transported to a local hospital for medical aid where he was admitted for treatment for non life-threatening injuries. …

“The investigation is in its preliminary stages. At this point in time, there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions. All parties were cooperative with law enforcement.”

The Times says that “Bryson was treated at the scene by Los Angeles County firefighters. … He was cited for felony hit and run but was not booked into jail because he had been admitted to the hospital. His condition was not known.”

Police say two of the three men in the Buick “were treated by paramedics for complaint of pain” [sic]. A woman in the second vehicle “complained of pain” but declined medical aid. “There was minor damage to the Lexus and Honda Accord,” police say.

As Bryson’s official biography states, before joining the Obama administration he “served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison and Edison Mission Group, from 1990 to 2008.” He is also a past president “of the California Public Utilities Commission and chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board.”

According to The Associated Press, Bryson is 68. It adds that “as secretary, Bryson has played a role as a member of the president’s economic team and has worked to promote job creation. He has also advised on energy issues, particularly in the clean energy sector.”

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.