Federal Official Charged with Hit-and-Run, Later Reveals Seizure
Splashy headlines hit almost immediately after U.S. Commerce Department Secretary John Bryson crashed his Lexus on San Gabriel Boulevard recently.
It was touted as two "hit-and-run" wrecks, and the secretary was cited by police for felony hit-and-run.
But as Santa Ana Criminal Defense Lawyer Houman Fakhimi - and the rest of the world - soon learned, appearances weren't everything they seemed.
As the facts trickled out, it became apparent that this was not a case of criminal negligence at all, but rather an underlying medical condition. It was later reported Bryson suffered a seizure that caused him to lose control of his vehicle and wreck.
Criminal defense attorneys in Santa Ana do understand that there is often more to a situation than meets the eye. An arrest does not make you guilty. However, the truth came out relatively quickly in this case due to Bryson's high-profile position, having been sworn in by President Obama as the head of the Commerce Department last fall.
Most people won't have that luxury, so you must rely on an experienced lawyer - one who will fight to ensure your rights are protected.
In this case, here's what we know of Bryson's situation thus far:
Bryson was driving his vehicle on South San Gabriel Boulevard around 5 p.m. on a weekend day when he reportedly struck a Buick from behind as that vehicle was waiting for a train to pass by.
After stopping for a moment to speak to the men in the other vehicle, Bryson reportedly got into his vehicle and then hit the Buick again. This time, the passengers in that vehicle followed Bryson while dialing 911. Bryson then drove his Lexus to Rosemead, which is the jurisdiction of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. Once there, he again crashed into another vehicle with two individuals inside.
By the time officers responded, they found him in his vehicle, alone and unconscious.
Medical doctors have since commented to news organizations that it is possible to have multiple seizures, one after another, several minutes apart. Additionally, such seizures can happen to anyone, no matter their age.
Although he was cited for felony hit-and-run, as defined in California Vehicle Code 20001, he was not arrested and was instead transported immediately to a nearby hospital. Only minor injuries were reported of the individuals in the other vehicles.
There was no indication drugs or alcohol was involved, as a breathalyzer test Bryson was given returned a zero blood alcohol level reading. The secretary also submitted to a blood test, though those results are pending.
Although he has been formally cited, it will be up to the district attorney's office to determine whether to actually file charges. Likely, that decision is pending the detailed medical reports.
A spokesman for the 68-year-old official said that he has no recollection of the events of that evening, and had never had a seizure prior to that incident.
It's been announced that he will be taking a medical leave of absence following the incident.
Contact Houman Fakhimi defense attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.