Commerce Secretary Investigated for Hit-and-Run

Former CEO of BrightSource Energy also under Congressional scrutiny

Commerce Secretary John Bryson is under investigation for his role in several auto accidents that occurred over the weekend that eventually left him unconscious behind the wheel, including an alleged felony hit-and-run.

The Politico reports:

Bryson, 68, was allegedly driving a Lexus on San Gabriel Boulevard when he hit the back of a Buick that was waiting for a train to pass. There were three men in the Buick. The commerce secretary is said to have spoken to the men after hitting the car the first time and then, while leaving the scene, again hit the vehicle. The men in the Buick followed Bryson’s car while they called 911.

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A few minutes later at about 5:10 p.m. local time, Bryson allegedly caused another collision — this one involving a Honda Accord with a man and a woman inside. According to the statement, Bryson was "found alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle" and was treated at a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. …

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the San Gabriel Police Department said there is no indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the two accidents in the preliminary stage of the investigation and that all parties involved were "cooperative" with law enforcement.

Bryson passed a breathalyzer test given to him at the hospital, but the results of a toxicology blood test are still pending, according to the San Gabriel Police Department

Bryson was appointed Commerce Secretary in 2011 by President Obama. Prior to his appointment, he was heavily involved in renewable energy. Bryson was the CEO Edison International and the chairman of BrightSource Energy, which received federal loan guarantees worth more than $1.5 billion.

Congressional investigators recently probed BrightSource Energy’s ties to the White House. Testifying before the House Oversight Committee, Bryson acknowledged he had helped the company draft a letter to then-White House Chief of staff Bill Daley.

In previous testimony before the committee, Bryson denied he had any communications with the White House regarding the loan guarantee.

Bryson would be invited to speak before the committee again to clarify his testimony, House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa said at the time, since "it’s clear that there was direct conversation leading to a form of favoritism for BrightSource.

UPDATE: The Associated Press reports Bryson suffered a seizure connected to the two car accidents which resulted in injuries to the secretary. According to the Department of Commerce, Bryson was hospitalized overnight, and he has returned to Washington. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.