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Hit-and-run driver faces new charges in Clearwater after victim’s death, police say

Belinda Hood, 67, was re-arrested Friday on charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
Belinda Hood, 67, of Dunedin, was arrested Friday on charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
Belinda Hood, 67, of Dunedin, was arrested Friday on charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death. [ Clearwater Police Department ]
Published Jan. 24

CLEARWATER — A 67-year-old Dunedin woman who was arrested Jan. 17 in a hit-and-run crash has been arrested a second time now the victim has died.

Belinda Sue Hood had no previous DUI convictions when she was first arrested Jan. 17 on charges including leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, DUI with a blood-alcohol content level of 0.15 or higher, driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage, and DUI causing serious bodily injury.

According to Pinellas County jail records, Hood was released the following night in lieu of $10,750 bail.

She was rearrested by Clearwater police late Friday, hours after a 75-year-old woman injured in the crash was pronounced dead at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Hood now faces charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of a crash involving death. She remained in Pinellas County Jail on Sunday in lieu of $60,000 bail.

According to initial police reports, Hood appeared “indifferent” when officers arrived at her daughter’s home after the crash. The collision left northbound U.S. 19 shut down for hours.

Police tracked Hood’s red Toyota Corolla to the home, on Ranchwood Drive East in Dunedin, after a number of people told police they watched her drive into the back of an Audi about 4:20 p.m. while headed north on U.S. 19 near McCormick Drive.

The impact caused the Audi to spin and strike another vehicle before coming to a stop. The 75-year-old driver was seriously injured.

Witnesses saw Hood speed away from the scene, her front bumper hanging from the front of her car, without stopping to render any aid as required by Florida law, police said.

One witness recorded her license plate number and investigators matched pieces of debris recovered from the crash to Hood’s car, police said.

Hood was unable to complete a sobriety test, toppling over twice, according to arrest reports. She admitted to causing the crash while driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital for an examination.

Blood tests there showed Hood’s blood-alcohol level was 0.299. Florida law presumes a driver is impaired at 0.08 or greater.