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U.S. commerce secretary cited for felony hit-and-run; Bryson ‘suffered a seizure,’ agency says

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Bryson (Jeff Chiu/AP)

U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson has been cited for felony hit-and-run after allegedly causing two separate car accidents within five minutes in Southern California on Saturday. Bryson suffered a seizure, according to a statement from the agency.

According to the San Gabriel Police Department, Bryson's Lexus rear ended a Buick that was stopped at a railroad crossing late Saturday afternoon in San Gabriel. Bryson spoke with the Buick's male passengers, then drove away, "hitting the same car again as he left," police said.

The men followed Bryson and called police. They witnessed Bryson hit a second car.

When police arrived, Bryson was "alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle." Bryson was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, where the officers cited him for felony hit-and-run.

"He suffered a seizure," Commerce Department spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman said in a statement on Monday. "He was taken to the hospital for examination and remained overnight for observation. He was released and has returned to Washington. The investigation is ongoing."

Two of the three men in the Buick were treated for minor injuries by paramedics, police said. A man and woman in the second vehicle declined medical attention.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Bryson was not arrested because he was being treated at the hospital, police said.

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"The investigation is in its preliminary stages," police said in a statement. "At this point in time, there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions."

Bryson was appointed commerce secretary by President Barack Obama last October. According to his biography on the Commerce Department website, Bryson is "a key member of President 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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