On Saturday, Commerce Secretary John Bryson allegedly crashed into two vehicles in California, and police say he is under investigation for possible hit-and-run felonies. President Obama named Bryson, a former chief executive at the utilities giant Edison International, as his commerce secretary in May 2011, and Bryson was confirmed in October, instantly becoming one of the administration's chief liaisons with American businesses. Bryson is also the co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental advocacy group. Here, a guide to Bryson's brush with the law:
What happened exactly?
Police say Bryson, driving a Lexus, rear-ended a Buick that was stopped at a railroad crossing in San Gabriel, Calif. Bryson spoke to the three males in the car, and then drove off, hitting the car again as he left. The men in the Buick followed Bryson and called 911 to report what had happened. Bryson drove to the city of Rosemead, where he allegedly struck a second car. Bryson was found unconscious behind his steering wheel. No one was seriously injured in the crashes.
Was Bryson drunk?
According to police, "there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions." Bryson was reportedly cooperative with authorities, and he passed a preliminary alcohol test, though results from a blood test are forthcoming.
So what happened?
A spokesperson for the Commerce Department says Bryson suffered a seizure during the incident, and he was reportedly given anti-seizure medication at the hospital on Saturday.
Was Bryson alone?
Yes. Bryson had reportedly been on "personal" time in California, and was not traveling with a security detail. Last Thursday, he gave the commencement address at Pasadena Polytechnic School, the college of choice for all four of his daughters.
What does the White House say?
The administration says it's concerned about Bryson's "health-related issues," and is still gathering information about the incident. American Crossroads, a Republican super PAC run by Karl Rove, jumped the gun a bit, tweeting, "How does @CommerceSec have 3 car crashes in 5 minutes and alcohol NOT be involved?" American Crossroads removed the tweet after it emerged that Bryson had suffered a seizure. "In the rapid-fire world of Twitter, the snark often flows before the facts," says Evan McMorris-Santoro at Talking Points Memo.