The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

July 3, 2012

Prosecutors won’t file criminal charges against ex-Commerce Secretary John Bryson

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County prosecutors won’t press criminal charges against former U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson in two alleged hit-and-run crashes in the San Gabriel Valley, officials said Tuesday.

“The district attorney’s office has declined to file a case against former Secretary of Commerce John Bryson,” the D.A. said in a statement. The decision appears to end the case that captured national attention.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore had said previously that no alcohol or illegal substances were found in Bryson’s system.

A district attorney’s report said Bryson did test positive for Ambien, the sleeping drug. His tests showed “low end of therapeutic levels” and a criminalist could not say if it was a factor in the collisions.

Bryson resigned from his post last month after the Commerce Department said the crashes were caused by seizures. Police have said they don’t believe Bryson was under the influence of alcohol, but were awaiting blood test results before determining what to do with the case. Results of those tests have not been revealed.

Doctors are continuing to evaluate the 68-year-old Bryson in connection with the June 9 incidents. Bryson’s neurologist initially diagnosed his condition as a “complex partial seizure,” a Commerce Department official said.

A department official previously said Bryson had a “limited recall of the events” surrounding the seizure, which was said to be Bryson’s first.

Bryson was driving a Lexus on South San Gabriel Boulevard shortly after 5 p.m. on June 9 when he allegedly rear-ended a Buick as it was waiting for a train to pass, authorities said.

After briefly stopping to talk to the three men inside the Buick, Bryson left the location in the Lexus and then struck the Buick a second time, authorities said. The men followed Bryson’s car and called 911 to ask for assistance, according to a police statement.

Bryson continued to drive his Lexus into the town of Rosemead, which is patrolled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, authorities said. There, he allegedly crashed into a second vehicle with two people inside, they said.

Officers found him alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his car, authorities said. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Bryson, who has a home in the Los Angeles-area community of San Marino, was in Southern California on June 7 to give the commencement address at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, the alma mater of his four daughters.

Some students and parents at the school noticed that Bryson, a polished public speaker, made mistakes and had lapses during his remarks. Several people told the Los Angeles Times that Bryson repeated himself and rambled at times. One parent said he mangled words and did not appear to notice.

 

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