Charges filed in this morning's crash on Highway 52 Connector

Police say an armed robbery suspect attempted to elude officers by driving a red Kia Rio westbound in the eastbound lanes of the U.S. Highway 52 Connector Friday morning. The Rio clipped the blue Mazda minivan and struck the maroon PT Cruiser nearly head-on. The drivers of the Rio and the PT Cruiser were both taken to the hospital.

Authorities say the U.S. Highway 52 Connector is open again after a car heading the wrong way crashed into two cars while trying to avoid North Charleston police Friday morning.

A suspect robbed the Check Pointe check cashing store in the Walmart shopping center at 7400 Rivers Avenue about 9:15 a.m., Capt. Scott Deckard said.

Witnesses told police the man ran out of the store and into a Kia Rio at the other end of the shopping center. Officers searched and found the suspect in the Northwoods Mall parking lot near the Sears store.

Deckard said the suspect stopped briefly then pulled out of the parking lot and went westbound in the eastbound lanes, going toward Goose Creek, when he clipped a blue Mazda minivan and struck a maroon PT Cruiser nearly head-on.

Deckard said police were not in pursuit of the Kia when it pulled into the eastbound lanes and wrecked.

The suspect and the driver of the PT cruiser were both taken to Medical University Hospital with what Deckard said were leg injuries.

Police recovered a gun from the Kia, he said.

Traffic was backed up in the right-hand lanes as motorists heading from Goose Creek to U.S. 52 in North Charleston were forced to get onto Ashley Phosphate Road.

Keith Elliot Rhue, 47, of Peppertree Lane, is charged with armed robbery, failure to stop for blue lights and siren and first-degree assault and battery, Deckard said. Rhue was being held in the Charleston County jail pending a bond hearing scheduled for Saturday.