Prosecutors Blame Bryson Crashes On Seizure Despite Tests Showing Ambien In System

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Updated: July 3, 2012, 5:28 PM

A report released on Tuesday revealed that former U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson was driving with a small amount of the sleep drug Ambien in his system when he was involved in multiple collisions in Southern California last month.

Despite that, prosecutors declined to charge Bryson with any crimes, saying it was not clear the drug had anything to do with the bizarre June 9 collisions and that a seizure was more likely to blame.Bryson resigned from President Obama’s cabinet on June 21 after revelations that he had crashed his Lexus into another car, drove away and then crashed into a second car minutes later in a neighboring city.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office released the one-page report on Tuesday afternoon to explain why prosecutors decided not press charges. It said an admitting doctor and a neurologist both examined Bryson, 68, at the hospital after the crash and he was diagnosed with having had a seizure.

“Both treating doctors agree that suspect was suffering from confusion following a seizure and crashed as a result,” the report said.

On Monday, investigators with the San Gabriel Police Department submitted charges to prosecutors along with toxicology and medical reports. However, it was up the district attorney’s office whether to follow through with the charges.

The decision follows weeks of mystery surrounding what happened that night. Previously, a White House spokesman said some sort of seizure played a role in the collisions but stopped of short of saying it was the cause. Police meanwhile refused to rule out anything, including that drugs may have played a role.

Read the report:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

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