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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Driver’s charges upgraded to DUI Manslaughter after victim dies as a result of her injuries in last week’s hit and run crash in Clearwater

Officers from the Clearwater Police Department responded to reports of a vehicle crash in the 25000 block of US Hwy 19 at approximately 4:22 p.m. on Sunday, January 17, 2021.

Officers determined that one of the vehicles involved in the crash, a red Toyota Corolla, fled the scene. It was determined that the three vehicle crash began as the Corolla struck a blue Audi. The impact caused the driver of the Audi to lose control and strike a 3rd vehicle.

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Officers were provided the license tag number of the 2010 red Toyota. They were able to locate the vehicle, at the driver’s daughters home, in the 1300 block of Ranchwood Drive in Dunedin a short time later. Vehicle parts from the Toyota were recovered at the crash scene.

Fire rescue crews treated one of the victims in the crash at the scene. That 75 year-old female victim was transported to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with serious injuries including multiple broken bones in her neck and back.

On Janaury 22, 2021, the victim in the crash died as a result of her injuries.

The hit and run driver was identified as 67 year-old Belinda Hood of Dunedin. Hood was evaluated for her injuries as a result of the crash and transported to Mease Dunedin Hospital. According to the arrest affidavit, Hood’s blood alcohol level was .299 which is nearing four times the legal threshold for impairment while operating a motor vehicle.

As a result of the death, Hood’s charges have now been upgraded to DUI Manslaughter and Leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.

She was released from the Pinellas County Jail on bond on January 18th based on the initial charges. Hood was rearrested and booked into the jail on January 22nd as a result of the upgraded charges.

The northbound lanes of US-19 were closed between Sunset Point Road and Enterprise Road during the investigation of the crash that occurred near McCormick Drive.


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