Secretary of Commerce John Bryson will be taking an indefinite medical leave of absence after suffering a seizure while driving this weekend.
"I notified President Obama this evening that effective immediately I am taking a medical leave of absence so that I can focus all of my attention on resolving the health issues that arose over the weekend," Bryson wrote in a memo released Monday.
"During the period of my illness, I will not perform the functions and duties of my office. Therefore, by operation of law, as my first assistant [Deputy Secretary Dr. Rebecca Blank] will act in my stead for the duration of my absence."
During the seizure this weekend in Los Angeles, Bryson rear-ended a car on San Gabriel Boulevard. According to various media reports, he struck the car again before driving off and colliding with a second car at an intersection in the nearby city of Rosemead.
The 68-year-old Bryson was found unconscious by Los Angeles sheriff's deputies, and underwent a breathalyzer test that showed alcohol was not a factor. He was cited for a hit-and-run and prosecutors are currently considering how to proceed.
The medical examiner said his actions and the events surrounding the crashes are consistent with a seizure. After a seizure, one can be fully awake and even interact with other people but be confused and have problems with motor skills.
Authorities said no one in any of the cars, or Bryson, was seriously injured. President Obama nominated Bryson to his job in October 2011 after the previous occupant, Gary Locke, was tapped to become the U.S. Ambassador to China.
by RTT Staff Writer
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