NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The mother and girlfriend of the man accused of fatally striking a woman with his SUV outside Northwoods Mall Tuesday passionately defended him, while also apologizing to the victim's family.
Cynthia Moultrie and Jerrica Bell spoke just after 32-year-old Raymond R. Clement was issued a $100,000 bond on a charge of reckless homicide during a hearing Wednesday.
The Charleston County Coroner's Office says the victim, 76-year-old Margarete Althausen of Goose Creek, died from injuries sustained from the accident.
Bell said Clement was leaving the gym and headed for school at Trident Tech when what she called an "honest accident" occurred. North Charleston police say Clement struck Althausen who was departing Belk just before 11 a.m. with his GMC Envoy.
"Hey! Could I have a police at Northwoods Mall," Clement tells an emergency 911 dispatcher."There's an emergency, it was an accident. Need EMS too...she's bleeding real bad."
Police said Althausen's body was found lying in the roadway. Althausen was taken to Medical University of South Carolina, where she later died.
Police say mechanics told them the Envoy's brakes may have been "inoperable," and were in need of new rotors on the front, as well as upper-ball joints.
Bell stressed Clement was very shaken up, and that his main concern was offering his support for the victim's family. She also said when the wreck happened, Clement immediately called 911 and was very "hands-on" with the victim until EMS arrived.
During the hearing, Judge Linda Lombard referred to Clement's rap sheet, which is quite lengthy. However, Clement and Bell contend the arrests, which range from speeding, to careless operation, drug possession, and weapons charges, are a thing of the past.
Bell said Clement realized years ago that a "life in the streets" was not for him, and that he had been trying to put his past behind him and pursue a business degree.
Moultrie also asked for leniency, explaining that her son, a father of four, needed to be there for his children.
As of noon Wednesday, Clement remained behind bars at the Charleston County Detention Center.