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Prosecutors consider charges against ex-Commerce secretary

July 2, 2012 |  5:56 pm

Prosecutors consider charges against ex-Commerce Secretary John BrysonL.A. prosecutors are now deciding whether former U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson should face criminal charges in connection with two recent hit-and-run crashes in the San Gabriel Valley.

Police sent the case to the L.A. County district attorney's office, but it's unclear when a decision will be made.

Bryson's former office said he suffered seizures, which caused the crashes. Police have said they don't believe he was under the influence of alcohol but were awaiting blood test results before determining what to do with the case. Results of those blood tests have not been revealed.

Doctors are continuing to evaluate the 68-year-old Bryson in connection with the June 9 incident, which Bryson's neurologist initially diagnosed as a "complex partial seizure," a Commerce Department official said.

A department official previously said Bryson had a "limited recall of the events" surrounding the seizure, which was said to be Bryson's first.

Bryson was driving a Lexus in the 400 block of South San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. June 9 when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, authorities said.

After briefly stopping to talk to the three men inside the Buick, Bryson left the location in the Lexus and then struck the Buick a second time, authorities said. The men followed Bryson's car and called 911 to ask for police assistance, according to a police statement.

Bryson continued to drive his Lexus into Rosemead, which is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, authorities said. There, he allegedly crashed into a second vehicle with two people inside near the intersection of San Gabriel Boulevard and Hellman Avenue, they said.

Officers found him alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his car, authorities said. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Bryson was cited for felony hit-and-run but not booked into jail because he was taken to a hospital, officials said, where he remained overnight for testing and observation.

He took a medical leave of absence June 11, telling Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank he needed to "focus all of my attention on resolving the health issues that arose over the weekend."

He resigned last month.

Bryson, who has a home in San Marino, was in Southern California on June 7 to give the commencement address at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, the alma mater of his four daughters.

Some students and parents at the school noticed that Bryson, a polished public speaker, made mistakes and had lapses during his remarks. Several people told The Times that Bryson repeated himself and rambled at times. One parent said he mangled words and did not appear to notice.


After resignation, police probe of John Bryson crashes continues

After seizure, crashes, Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns

Commerce agency: Secretary John Bryson had seizure linked to crashes

— Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather (twitter.com/katemather

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson has resigned after reportedly suffering a seizure that may have led to two crashes in the San Gabriel Valley this month. Credit: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images