WASHINGTON - JANUARY 13: U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson waits for U.S. President Barack Obama to speak about government reform in the East Room of the White House January 13, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama is asking Congress for consolidation authority to merge government agencies into smaller single entities starting with those centering around business and trade. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
John Bryson, the U.S. Commerce Secretary who was cited for a series of hit-and-run traffic collisions in Southern California earlier this month, resigned Thursday.
"Last night I accepted the resignation of John Bryson as Secretary of the Department of Commerce," President Barack Obama said Thursday. "I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best."
Bryson, whose deep Southern California roots include years as head of Edison International, said he had suffered a series of strokes on June 9, leading him to lose control of his automobile several times.
Police said he struck one vehicle twice on South San Gabriel Boulevard, then drove on to Rosemead, where he crashed into another car.
In a statement released Friday, Bryson did not mention the collisions or seizures. He thanked employees of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and said that he did not want to become a "distraction" to their work.
"The work that you do to help America's entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs is more important now than ever and I have come to the conclusion that I need to step down to prevent distractions from this critical mission," Bryson said.