NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Charges against a man who accidentally struck and killed a 76-year-old woman in the Northwoods Mall parking lot have been dismissed.
According to Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the reckless homicide charge against Raymond Clement was dismissed Tuesday.
Clement was charged in a fatal auto versus pedestrian accident that happened in September of last year. The victim, Margarete Althausen, was crossing Northwoods Blvd when she was struck by Clement's vehicle. Officials say he was traveling 24 mph in a 20 mph zone.
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.
"Our hearts go out to the victim's family in this matter. It is a true tragedy and the wounds the family feels right now will likely take many years to heal. However, the pain for their loss does not turn a tragic traffic accident into a criminal offense," said Assistant Solicitor Culver Kidd. "Mr. Clement failed to see the victim crossing the street. It was an accident and our laws do not send people to prison for accidents and unintentional conduct, unless it shows an extreme indifference to human life. After the accident Mr. Clement stopped, called 911, and waited with the victim until help arrived. There was no evidence of any other misconduct by Mr. Clement other than his driving 24 miles per hour in a 20 mph zone. He was not on the phone, texting or otherwise, he was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he was not behaving in any way which could be categorized as willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others."
Police say mechanics looked at Clement's vehicle's brakes and said they were badly in need of repair.
"Civil liability and criminal responsibility are very different concepts," said Solicitor Wilson. "Civil negligence and recklessness are not synonymous with recklessness as defined in the criminal context. The negligent act surrounding this horrible accident does not give rise to a prosecution for reckless homicide."