White House 'concerned' about Commerce Secretary John Bryson
The Obama administration is "obviously concerned" about two San Gabriel Valley hit-and-run crashes involving U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson and the seizure the 68-year-old reportedly suffered, the White House press secretary said Monday.
Jay Carney told reporters in Washington, D.C., that the White House was informed of the incident Sunday evening and the president was told about it Monday morning. Obama had not spoken to Bryson, Carney said, but his chief of staff, Jack Lew, did.
“We're obviously concerned about the incident, concerned about Secretary Bryson's health-related issues that played a role in this incident, and we're still gathering information about it,” Carney said.
Authorities found Bryson unconscious at the wheel of his Lexus after hitting two vehicles shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. He was cited for felony hit-and-run but was not booked. He was taken to a hospital.
Commerce Department spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman confirmed the information to The Times on Monday.
"Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles over the weekend. He suffered a seizure," Friedman said in a statement. "He was taken to the hospital for examination and remained overnight for observation. He was released and has returned to Washington."
A Commerce official said later the secretary had never had a seizure before and had "limited recall of the events." He remains in contact with doctors, the official said.
Carney declined to comment on whether Bryson would be put on medical leave or had a history of similar episodes, referring those questions to the Commerce Department.
“I can tell you that the president nominated Secretary Bryson to serve because he felt he was capable of doing the job. And he has been an effective commerce secretary since he was confirmed,” Carney said.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing.
-- Kathleen Hennessey in Washington; Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather in L.A.