Police: Faulty brakes could have contributed to fatal crash at mall

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Police say mechanics looked at a vehicle's brakes involved in a North Charleston crash that killed an elderly woman and said they were badly in need of repair.

The look into the SUV's mechanics came a day after 76-year-old Margarete Althausen was struck and killed in the crosswalk outside the Belk store at Northwoods Mall.

According to North Charleston police, the elderly woman left the Belk store at Northwoods Mall around 11 a.m. and was hit by an SUV while she was walking in the crosswalk.

Police identified the driver of the SUV as Raymond R. Clement, of Aiken Street in Charleston. Clement was charged with reckless homicide.

Moments after the accident, Clement made a call to 911 to get help.

"She's bleeding real bad," Clement told a dispatcher.

The coroner's office on Wednesday said Althausen, of Goose Creek, died from injuries she sustained in the accident. Clement's bond was set at $100,000 at a bond hearing on Wednesday morning.

Clement is no stranger to dealing with the law -- a rap sheet shows a history of crimes varying from assault and battery to distribution of drugs, and reckless driving.

But he told the judge his past shouldn't matter in this case, because it was truly an accident.

"That's my past, I don't changed my whole life around," said Clement.

Clement had several family members speak on his behalf in court.

"I give my condolences to the lady that passed. But like my son says, he's changed his life around. His past is his past," Clement's mother told the courtroom.

Clement's mother says he's a father of four and is a full-time student at Trident Tech. His girlfriend Jerrica Bell says he was leaving the gym and on his way to class when the accident happened.

"He is very sorry and it was an honest accident. He's willing to reach out if they want to talk to him. He's willing to explain what he could. And he is sorry it was an accident and he didn't purposely do it and that he's truly sorry," said Bell.{}

Clement has been lodged in the Al Cannon Detention Center.