According to Bay News 9
, Paul Berloni, 49 and Belinda Berloni, 47 were taken away in handcuffs Sunday afternoon after Sheriff's deputies spotted the two pulling their 7-year-old granddaughter behind them using a dog leash as a tow rope.
The child was unharmed although wearing only a bathing suit with no helmet during the ride. Things could have turned out differently.
"We were pulling her in the car on the back of the truck which probably wasn't the best thing to do,'' said the grandmother. "I get it, I understand."
One of the deputies estimated the vehicles were traveling between 5 to 10 mph and said both grandparents admitted to have been drinking before the incident occurred.
“I was in the back watching her the whole time," Belinda said. We were going up and down this road here, this little strip, maybe five-miles an hour, pulling her behind it.'' The grandmother went on to add: "She was like, 'woot, woot, woot.' Having a good time, you know?"
The child's grandmother told the deputy she understood it was a dangerous thing to do but added they were just having fun.
"You should know better," the child's father said
to the grandparents after arriving at the scene to take custody of the little girl.
Grandfather Paul Berloni still remains in jail, charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving with a suspended license.
Grandmother Belinda Berloni has been released from jail. However, she remains under supervision and will face a charge of child endangerment.
The incident took place along an access road near Clark Road and Rockefeller Avenue Sarasota, FL.