Update: Reports: Obama’s Commerce Secretary Cited for Two Traffic Accidents Stemming from Seizure


by Sharon Rondeau

Commerce Secretary John Bryson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in October 2011

(Jun. 11, 2012) — Obama Commerce Secretary John Bryson was involved in two traffic accidents over this past weekend in southern California.  The Commerce Department has stated that Bryson was “on personal time” while there and traveling without a government security team.

Two different police departments are involved in investigations involving Bryson’s allegedly hitting two cars three times on Saturday evening.

Bryson previously served as president and CEO of Edison International, which began concentrating on “renewable energy” in 1980 and from which Bryson retired in 2008.  Rep. Darrell Issa, who is investigating putative Attorney General Eric Holder’s role in the Fast & Furious gunrunning operation, called Bryson a “green evangelist” upon Obama’s nomination of him in May of last year.  Bryson served on the board of directors of The Disney Company, which owns ABC News.

Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma had stated that Bryson was “a radical environmentalist.”

Bryson is from California, where he was active in environmental groups and causes.  Obama has described him as “fierce proponent of alternative energy.”

In regard to Bryson, the Associated Press stated that police said that the accidents “left him injured and unconscious,” although later in the article, the police are quoted as having said that Bryson was not injured.  Fox News stated that Bryson was admitted to a hospital for “non-life threatening injuries” after having been found unconscious in his car.

The possible charges have been described as “felony hit-and-run.”  While at the hospital, Bryson was reportedly “issued a felony citation.”

The first accident occurred when Bryon’s vehicle rear-ended another vehicle which had been stopped while a train went by.  Bryson reportedly spoke with the three men in that car in a reportedly “confused” manner.  The men told police that upon leaving the scene, Bryson put his car into reverse and hit their car a second time.

A separate accident was caused when Bryson’s vehicle allegedly hit a second vehicle about five minutes later in Rosemead, CA, with two occupants, after which Bryson was found unconscious in his vehicle by police.

One report stated that it was unknown if a medical condition had played a part in Bryson’s behavior, while another stated that “Information was given that he suffers from a preexisting medical condition.”

Late last month, Bryson had traveled to Europe to discuss “trans-Atlantic trade.”  He hailed Germany’s vocational training framework as “an important model for the United States” and sought Germany’s “further investment in the United States.”

A statement issued today from the Commerce Department stated that the department was not advised of the accident until Sunday, that Bryson has been released from the hospital and is uninjured.  The AP continues to report that Bryson was injured.

Update, 5:03 p.m. EDT:  Several news reports and the U.S. Commerce Department have reported that Bryson suffered a seizure at some point before, during or following the traffic accidents which occurred on Saturday.  Bryson returned to Washington, DC and is reportedly being monitored.  CBS News stated, “Many questions remained unanswered, however, including whether the seizure caused either accident.”

This writer is not a physician but is intimately familiar with seizures as having been the primary caretaker of an epileptic child for the past 33 years.  From this perspective, it can be said that seizures can occur without warning and either as a sole occurrence or in clusters. There are several names for different types of seizures, including petit mal, grand mal, absence, and tonic-clonic.  Grand mal seizres can cause seconds or minutes of unconsciousness including disorientation, an inability to speak or hear, and incontinence as well as rigidity of the extremities and rolling of the eyes.

More information for the general public on seizures and their aftermath can be found here.  The condition of epilepsy, or recurring seizures, may prevent a person from operating a motor vehicle.

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