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Commerce secretary seemed confused and glassy-eyed after crash

July 4, 2012 | 11:24 pm

Ex-Secretary Bryson crashes: More photos

A motorist who was struck by then-U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson in the San Gabriel Valley last month said the Cabinet official seemed confused, glassy-eyed and unaware during his bizarre series of hit-and-run crashes.

The motorist, Rich Sanchez of La Verne, told KTLA-TV Channel 5 he was waiting for a train to pass when he was rear-ended by Bryson.

“He got out of his car and walked back to us and he said, 'What do you think happened?' " Sanchez, 26, said about Bryson. "I said, 'Well, you just hit me.' "

PHOTOS: Former Secretary Bryson's hit-and-run crashes

Sanchez told KTLA that they agreed to pull over to the side of the road after the train passed, but instead, Bryson got back into his car, hit Sanchez’s car again and left.

Sanchez told the TV station that he and his brother, Raymond, didn’t want Bryson to get away, so they followed him down San Gabriel Boulevard and called 911. After Bryson struck another vehicle, Sanchez pulled up behind Bryson’s car to prevent him from fleeing again.

Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to charge Bryson with any crime, saying there was not enough evidence to prove driving under the influence. Bryson tested positive for a small amount of Ambien, a popular sleep aid, after he was found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his Lexus last month. But authorities concluded the accidents were caused by a seizure Bryson suffered and said he should not face criminal charges in connection with the hit-and-runs.

According to a district attorney's memo, both treating doctors found that Bryson was suffering from confusion after a seizure and crashed his car as a result.

Authorities could not determine if the Ambien in his system played any role in the crashes. Bryson's blood work showed an amount on the "low end of therapeutic levels."

Bryson resigned from his post last month after the Commerce Department said the crashes were caused by a seizure. Tests administered at the scene showed he was not drinking at the time.

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-- From a Times staff writer

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