Grandparents take girl for joyride. Photo via My Fox Tampa Bay.
A couple of Sarasota, Fla., grandparents decided to take their 7-year-old granddaughter for a joy ride on Sunday. They hitched the girl’s Hot Wheels car to their SUV with dog leashes and then towed the child in her car.
Belinda Berloni, the girl’s grandmother, told Bay News 9 in Tampa Bay that she watched her granddaughter the whole time and that they were all having a great time. She said, “I was in the back watching her the whole time. We were going up and down this road here, this little strip, maybe 5 mph, pulling her behind it. She was like, ‘woot, woot, woot.’ Having a good time, you know?’”
As they were making their third or fourth run, a Sarasota deputy spotted them from a nearby road and stopped them. According to the police report, the couple had been drinking. TheHerald-Tribune in Sarasota also reports that Paul Berloni, the grandfather, admitted that his driver’s license had been revoked and that he was drinking. Paul has been previously convicted of three DUIs.
When the deputy arrived, he also found that the granddaughter was riding in the car with only a swimsuit on and no protective gear. The girl was unharmed during the incident.
Paul Berloni, 49, has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment, and driving with a suspended license. My Fox Tampa Bay reports that bail has been set at $850 and the family is currently raising the money to get him out of jail. Belinda Berloni, 47, was charged with child endangerment and has already made bail.
The girl’s father arrived at the scene and became verbally upset with his mother. He took custody of his daughter.
Belinda told My Fox Tampa Bay that what she did was a “stupid idea.” She said, “I love all my grandchildren. I would never put them in harm’s way.”
Belinda is currently on a supervised release and is to check in with the sheriff’s office three times a week. She is to have no contact with her granddaughter and is not permitted to drink.
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