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Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigns following car accidents

 

Commerce Secretary John Bryson has resigned, after being involved in a pair of bizarre car accidents earlier this month upon suffering what he said was a seizure. 

Bryson formally submitted his resignation via letter to President Obama on Wednesday. He said he made the decision "as a consequence of a recent seizure and medical leave of absence." 

"This is a critical period for our country's economy," he wrote. "I have concluded that the seizure that I suffered on June 9 could be a distraction from my performance as secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership of the department." 

Obama said in a statement that he has accepted the resignation, voicing confidence in Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank and saying Bryson "fought tirelessly for our nation's businesses and workers."

Bryson was involved in two car accidents earlier this month in Los Angeles, one of which was being treated as an alleged hit-and-run. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the San Gabriel Police Department said that in the first crash, Bryson was driving alone in his Lexus on a major street when he allegedly struck the rear end of a Buick. He spoke with the occupants of that car before leaving the scene and "hitting the same car again as he left the scene," according to a police statement.  

The agencies said minutes later he struck another vehicle, a Honda Accord, in a nearby community, and police found him unconscious behind the wheel of his car.

The Obama administration later announced Bryson was taking a medical leave of absence after suffering a seizure. A Commerce official said earlier this month that Bryson, who has "limited recall of the events," has not had a seizure before. 

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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