White House Unable to Answer Questions About Commerce Secretary Hit-and-Run

By Matt Cover | June 11, 2012 | 5:04 PM EDT

Update: On Tuesday, the day after Commerce Secretary John Bryson announced he was taking an indefinite medical leave of absence following two car accidents on Saturday, more details – and more questions – are emerging.

An unnamed Commerce Department official, in an email to CNSNews.com, confirmed that drugs and alcohol were not involved in either of Bryson’s two collisions, including the first one, which is being investigated as a felony hit-and-run.

The official confirmed that Bryson has never had a seizure before, and he could not confirm the cause of Bryson’s seizure. In the email, the official told CNSNews.com that Bryson had “limited recall” of Saturday’s events, making an exact timeline difficult to determine.

President Obama and Commerce Department Secretary John Bryson. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) –
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was unable to answer questions on Monday about the details of Secretary of Commerce John Bryson’s hit-and-run accident from Saturday. Carney referred reporters to the Commerce Department, refusing to give any details about the incidents.

Bryson apparently caused two traffic incidents on June 9 in the Los Angeles, Calif., area, according to reports, one of which is being investigated as a felony hit-and-run. Bryson was reportedly found unconscious at the scene of the second accident.

Pressed for details on Monday, Carney would only say that Bryson had a traffic accident and a seizure.

“The Commerce Secretary was alone, he had a seizure, he was involved in an accident,” Carney said at his daily briefing. “Those circumstances certainly speak to the difficulty of getting details.”

It is unclear, at this point, if Bryson is back at work or if he is on some sort of medical leave. It is also unclear if he has a history of seizures.

It is not known whether the Commerce Department or Secretary Bryson are claiming this alleged seizure was the cause of one or both of the traffic collisions.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. (AP Photo)

In a statement to CNSNews.com, Commerce Department spokesman Jennifer Friedman said that Bryson had in fact suffered a seizure and had been given anti-seizure medication at the hospital on Saturday. However, Friedman did not say when Bryson suffered the seizure or if it caused either of his two collisions.

“Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles over the weekend,” reads the statement.  “He was diagnosed with a seizure.  He was taken to the hospital for examination, given medication to treat seizures, and remained overnight for observation.”

“He was released and has returned to Washington,” the statement continued.  “Secretary Bryson has no public events scheduled for today.  The Secretary was on personal time in Los Angeles with no security detail and was driving his own vehicle.”