Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Calling Bullshit

Yesterday news broke that Commerce Secretary John Bryson was involved in a hit and run collision in California this weekend.  Details are scant, but he's saying that he "suffered a seizure" and blames some medical issue.

I seriously doubt that.  And I know, I know, I'm a liberal so I'm supposed to buy this seizure story, but a quick look at the known details raises a lot of suspicions.  The reporting says:

Bryson, who was driving a Lexus, rear-ended a Buick occupied by three men that was stopped at a railroad crossing in San Gabriel, said the police statement Sunday.

"Bryson spoke with the males, then left the scene, hitting the same car again as he left," the statement said.

The men in the Buick followed Bryson while calling 911 to report the accident, it said.

Bryson then drove to the neighboring city of Rosemead, where he hit a second car, according to authorities.
 I'm sorry, but not all of this can be explained by a seizure.  If we're just talking about rear-ending the Buick....maybe.

But Bryson got out of the vehicle, engaged the people in the Buick, then fled.  That may not seem like a fair assessment of what happened, but he hit the Buick a second time as he was leaving, which indicates some level of haste.  Plus the occupants of the Buick reacted in a way that indicates they thought they were dealing with a fleeing criminal as opposed to a man with a medical problem.

Then after fleeing the initial collision, Bryson drove almost two miles away and hit another car.  (I looked it up on Google Earth.)  Police found him unconscious behind the wheel at the scene.

The sequence of events, the timing, the distance, the reactions, all of this makes the seizure story the least plausible explanation.  When did he suffer the seizure?  Before the initial collision?  Was he seizing when he got out to engage the occupants of the Buick?  Did he have another seizure that caused him to get back into his Lexus and drove off? 

And how to explain the second car two miles away?  After effects of the previous seizure?  Another seizure?

Indeed, I think it's more likely that he was on something (bath salts?) or tired or just plain careless.  Of course, none of those things are a defense for felony hit and run charges, so I can see why he's going with the seizure thing.

For what it's worth, his colleagues at the Commerce Department don't seem to be buying it either.  They released a statement that mentions the seizure defense, but it's so carefully worded that one can almost read between the lines.

"Secretary Bryson was involved in a traffic accident in Los Angeles over the weekend," said a statement by Commerce Director of Public Affairs Jennifer Friedman. "He suffered a seizure. He was taken to the hospital for examination and remained overnight for observation. He was released and has returned to Washington. The investigation is ongoing."
Yes, he was involved in "a traffic accident."  Two of them, actually, miles apart, and he fled the first one.   They also offer no details on timing, duration, or severity of this alleged seizure.  Indeed, if it's ever established that the seizure (if there was a seizure) had nothing to do with the two accidents, they have plausible deniability on this one.  "Hey, I didn't say the seizure caused the accident.  I just said he had a seizure."  Also notice how the hospital visit is mentioned, but not the felony citation.  It's a spin statement cooked up by publicists and lawyers.

Bryson has already taken a "medical leave" from his post at Commerce, but he better hope that blood test comes back negative.  I have a feeling jail time is in his near future.  He's just lucky he didn't kill anyone.

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