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Commerce Sec. John Bryson Cited for Hit and Run

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on June 11, 2012 10:02 AM

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was cited for felony hit and run in a series of crashes Saturday that his agency blamed on seizures.

Bryson, 68, was driving a Lexus in Los Angeles and allegedly rear-ended a Buick that was stopped at a railroad crossing about 5 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reports. Bryson was alone in the vehicle.

Bryson spoke briefly with the men in the Buick, but then allegedly left the scene — crashing into the Buick a second time as he drove away, investigators told the Times.

The men in the Buick called 911 and followed Commerce Secretary John Bryson after the alleged hit and run.

Bryson drove into the suburb of Rosemead, where he allegedly crashed his Lexus into a second vehicle at an intersection. A sheriff's deputy found Bryson unconscious behind the wheel, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Bryson was released Sunday and is back in Washington, D.C., a Commerce Department spokeswoman said in a statement. "Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles over the weekend. He suffered a seizure," the statement said. "The investigation is ongoing."

In California, a felony hit and run can be punished by jail or prison time and up to a $10,000 fine, with harsher punishments if a crash results in death or serious injury. It differs from a misdemeanor, which only involves property damage.

It's not clear if John Bryson's seizures caused the crashes or resulted from them, The Washington Post reports. If a medical reason caused the crashes, Bryson would likely not be prosecuted for hit and run, police told The Post.

As for Commerce Secretary John Bryson's seizures, the jurisdiction that issued Bryson's driver license may take away his license until a doctor certifies he's being treated for his seizures, and that his seizures are under control, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

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