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Police probe crashes linked to commerce sec.

Mon, 06/11/2012 - 2:13am
The Associated Press

Police are investigating two traffic collisions allegedly caused by U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson in the Los Angeles area that left him injured and unconscious, authorities said Monday.

One of the crashes was under investigation as a felony hit and run, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department and the San Gabriel Police Department said.

Bryson, 68, was treated at a hospital for non life-threatening injuries following the crashes around 5 p.m. PDT Saturday, the agencies said in a joint statement.

"As far as we know he is still admitted," sheriff's deputy Tony Moore said early Monday. He declined to provide any other information, including the name of the hospital.

Commerce Department officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Bryson was driving alone in a Lexus on a major street in San Gabriel when he allegedly struck the rear end of a vehicle occupied by three males that had been stopped for a passing train.

The secretary spoke briefly with the occupants and then hit their car again as he departed, the officials said. The three followed him while calling police.

"The preliminary investigation indicates the collision was caused by suspect John Bryson, who is the United States Secretary of Commerce," the statement said.

Bryson then allegedly caused a second collision minutes later, also on San Gabriel Boulevard, in the nearby city of Rosemead, striking a car occupied by a man and a woman, the police agencies said.

Bryson was found alone and unconscious in his car and was treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital.

There was no immediate indication that alcohol or drugs played a role in the collisions, the agencies said.

Two people in the first collision were treated by paramedics after complaining of pain, the officials said. The couple involved in the second crash also complained of pain but declined medical aid.

Damages to the vehicles was minor.

San Gabriel is located just northeast of Los Angeles.

President Barack Obama swore in the former utility executive as the head the Commerce Department in October, after easily overcoming conservatives' objections that his pro-environmental views made him unsuited for the job.

As secretary, Bryson has played a role as a member of the president's economic team and has worked to promote job creation.

He has also advised on energy issues, particularly in the clean energy sector. Bryson helped oversee Edison's transformation into a leading wind and solar company and launched a plan to turn 65 million square feet of unused commercial rooftops into solar power stations with enough electricity for more than 160,000 homes.

Bryson is the former head of Edison International, the holding company that owns Southern California Edison. Bryson has also served on boards of major corporations including the Boeing Co. and the Walt Disney Co.

Bryson helped oversee Edison's transformation into a leading wind and solar company and launched a plan to turn 65 million square feet of unused commercial rooftops into solar power stations with enough electricity for more than 160,000 homes.

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