You know the (recent?) practice of playing down reputation-breaking incidents by admitting to alcoholism. See, e.g., Mel Gibson. Now, just days after running down a pedestrian and attempting to leave the scene--despite reports that the man was splayed on his windshield--Robert Novak, age 77, has said he has a brain tumor. Novak isn't using the tumor explicitly as an excuse for hitting the guy, but he did say that he didn't know he had hit anyone, and the papers are saying that it's unclear whether his tumor contributed to the accident.
This all adds fuel to my long-held belief that everyone over 65 should be required to undergo random driving inspections. At the same time, it supports the implicit conclusion that if you're famous, you can find excuses to get you out of consequences for the bad things you do.