U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson has been cited in a felony hit-and-run case after allegedly crashing a Lexus into two vehicles in California Saturday evening, Los Angeles police have confirmed.
According to the written statement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Bryson, 68, was allegedly behind the wheel of a Lexus that rear-ended another vehicle waiting for a train to pass in the city of San Gabriel at around 5:05 p.m. PT. The statement says Bryson spoke with the three males in the other car, then allegedly drove away, hitting their Buick again in the process.
Bryson was then “found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle,” after allegedly causing another accident in the neighboring city of Rosemead about five minutes later.
Police say that while Bryson has now been formally cited in the hit-and-run, it will be up to the district attorney’s office to decide whether formal criminal charges should be filed.
Only minor injuries were reported in the other vehicles involved in both accidents.
According to a spokeswoman for the Commerce Department, Bryson was admitted to hospital but released after the accidents.
“He has sustained no injuries and the investigation is ongoing,” spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman told CBS News.
Neither the Commerce Department nor the White House offered any further comment on the incident.
David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama’s re-election campaign, didn’t provide further details on “CBS This Morning” Monday.
“This news broke overnight, so I don’t really have anything to contribute to that. Obviously it’s concerning, but, you know, I’m not going to comment because I don’t know any of the details,” he said.
According to the police statement, which said the investigation was still in its preliminary stages, there were no signs that drug or alcohol use played a role in the crashes.
CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that it was the three men in the Buick, involved in the first accident, who called police as they followed Bryson’s vehicle from the scene.
The Commerce Department’s profile of Bryson, who has been the president’s commerce secretary since October 2011, describes him as, “a key member of Mr. Obama’s economic team working to implement the administration’s top economic priority: accelerating job creation. He works to strengthen the economic recovery and U.S. competitiveness, and he serves as the voice for the business community in the President’s Cabinet.”
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