Drunken Grandparents Use SUV to Tow Girl in Toy Car, Deputies Say
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The deputy who stopped the procession said the toy car was attached to the SUV with two dog leashes.
Two drunken grandparents were arrested for using their vehicle to pull their 7-year-old granddaughter in a toy car, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said.
Belinda and Paul Berloni were arrested on Sunday after a deputy in a marked patrol car saw the SUV pulling a “small plastic hot wheels car” along an access road, authorities said. The vehicle was going about five to 10 miles per hour, the probable cause affidavit said.
The girl was wearing a bathing suit with no protective gear, authorities said. The toy car was attached to the SUV with two dog leashes tied to the trailer hitch, the affidavit said.
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Paul Berloni, 49, smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and watery, the affidavit said. When asked for his driver’s license, he said it had been revoked for 10 years for a DUI. He also told authorities he had two or three drinks, authorities said. He later said it was more but wasn’t specific, the affidavit said.
Belinda Berloni, 47, was in the cargo area with the rear hatch open cheering the little girl on, the affidavit said. She was also intoxicated and said she had a few drinks, authorities said.
She “also stated that she understood that it was dangerous to drag a child behind the vehicle but stated they were just having fun and had been doing it all day,” the affidavit said.
Belinda Berloni’s son, who is the girl’s father, arrived and was upset with his mother. He also said that he believed they had a drinking problem that may have affected their decision making, the affidavit said.
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“The defendant and co-defendant failed to provide adequate supervision for the child and put the child in a situation that could have easily resulted in great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement and even death,” the affidavit said.
The deputy who stopped the grandparents said the grandmother was in the back of the SUV calling encouragement to the 7-year-old girl.
Paul Berloni refused to take a field sobriety test and was being held on $7,500 bond on Monday, a jail official said. He faces charges that include a fourth DUI offense, driving with a suspended license and cruelty toward a child. Belinda Berloni was released from jail Monday on supervised release and faces a child cruelty charge.
It wasn’t immediately known if they had attorneys.
Blogger’s Note:  Is it just me, or does Florida seem to have gone sideways.  There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by that some really sadly crazy bit of news comes out of the state.  What’s going on down there?
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