The grandparents of a 7-year-old Florida girl are facing several charges after they allegedly towed her in a plastic car behind their SUV—all while under the influence of alcohol.
The Herald Tribune reports that Paul J. Berloni, 49, is charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving with a suspended license. Sarasota Sheriff's deputies say Berloni has been convicted on three prior DUIs. His wife, Belinda Jean Berloni, 47, faces one charge of child endangerment.
The granddaughter was reportedly not injured during the incident.
According to the arrest report, the Berloni's "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 or even death."
Police became aware of the illegal ride when a deputy spotted the couple towing their granddaughter in a plastic Hot Wheels car. The child was dressed in a swimsuit, without any protective gear. The Hot Wheels car was attached to the SUV's trailer hitch with two dog leashes and traveling at an estimated 5 to 10 mph.
Belinda Berloni was reportedly riding in the SUV's cargo area and "cheering on the child," according to the arrest report. The couple did not deny they were drinking or that Paul Berloni's license was suspended. Rather, Belinda Berloni reportedly said "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 this all day," according to the arrest report.
The child's father was called to the scene and reportedly became "verbally upset" with his mother before taking custody of his child.
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