Bryson Takes Medical Leave After Accidents

Will be out indefinitely 'during my illness,' he says
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 12, 2012 3:34 AM CDT
Updated Jun 12, 2012 3:41 AM CDT
John Bryson is taking a leave to deal with an unspecified illness.   (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade,File)

(Newser) – Commerce Secretary John Bryson is taking a medical leave after police said he was involved in three car accidents and cited him for felony hit-and-run. Commerce officials said he suffered a seizure. He's now taking an indefinite leave from his Cabinet post "during the period of my illness," he said. “I notified President Obama that effective immediately I am taking a medical leave of absence so I can focus all of my attention on resolving the health issues that arose over the weekend." His second-in-command, Rebecca Blank, will be acting secretary in his absence, reports the Washington Post.

“President Obama’s thoughts are with Secretary Bryson and his family during this time," said a statement from the White House. According to police, Bryson rear-ended one car twice, and then a second car. He stopped briefly to exchange information after the first incident, then struck the car again and drove off, police said. He was found unconscious behind the wheel after the third crash. No one was seriously injured. Bryson passed a breathalyzer at the scene, and submitted to a blood test, according to the LA Sheriff's Department. If the toxicology tests come back negative, Bryson will not be charged in the hit-and-run, a spokesman told the New York Times. White House and Commerce Officials gave no details about Bryson's condition, and "took pains" to emphasize they were not saying the seizure caused the episode, noted the Times. Bryson has "limited recall" of what happened.

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