47-year-old Belinda Berloni and 49-year-old Paul Berloni have been charged with Child Neglect/Endangerment. Paul also faces charges of a 4th DUI and driving with license revoked.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, a deputy was driving down Clark Road near Rockefeller Avenue around 4:30pm Sunday when he noticed the SUV towing the child in the plastic Hot Wheels car along a paved access road next to Clark Road. The report says they were traveling approximately 5-10 miles per hour, and the child was wearing a swimsuit and no protective equipment. The plastic car was attached to the SUV using two pet leashes tied together.
The deputy stopped the vehicle and approached Paul Berloni, who was driving. The report says Paul had a strong odor of alcohol and was slurring his words. He admitted to the deputy that he had been drinking and that his license was revoked for 10 years for previous DUI arrests.
Belinda Berloni was riding in the rear cargo area of the SUV with the hatch open and reportedly "cheering the child on." She told the deputy that she knew it was a dangerous act, but they were "just having fun and had been doing this all day." She was also intoxicated.
The child's father was contacted and was given custody of the child upon arrival at the scene. He was very upset with the situation and his mother.
The two were arrested and booked into the north county jail.