Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Toni Schuck arrests suspected drunk driver to save 10,000 riders

Within seconds, the two cars met head-on in a thunderous crash, dash cam footage shows.

Schuck and the driver, Kristen Kay Watts, both survived the crash, law enforcement said. Watts, 52, faces five charges, including reckless driving and driving under the influence. Court records show his blood alcohol level was 0.094; the legal limit for drivers in Florida is 0.08.

of watts the public defender did not respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment on Tuesday evening.

Schuck, who was injured and hospitalized after the crash, is being called a hero for potentially saving the lives of runners and race volunteers.

“Florida Highway Patrol Master Trooper Toni Schuck put himself in direct danger and prevented a tragedy at the Skyway 10K Bridge Run,” the department said in a Facebook post. “…Thank you for your bravery and selflessness, Cavalier Schuck. We wish you a speedy recovery.

In preparation for the Armed Forces Families Foundation’s 10K Skyway Race on Sunday, law enforcement has blocked Interstate 275 toward the bridge, which stretches from Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg. Diversion signs signaled that drivers should redirect to Route 41.

About 8,000 people ran the race, according to a Tweeter with event organizers. There were also many volunteers, support staff and spectators.

At around 8:45 a.m., Watts allegedly ignored the detour sign, bypassed barricades and evaded law enforcement trying to arrest him, WFLA reported. She continued to accelerate northbound on the freeway until Schuck spotted the car coming her way, dash cam footage shows. In an attempt to prevent Watts from injuring people in the race, Schuck walked towards the BMW and then quickly positioned his SUV in anticipation of the collision.

“Although the accident was serious, I know that the injured soldier who is currently receiving medical attention as I write this email is absolutely relieved to have been available to ensure the safety of hundreds of innocent people” , the Florida Highway Patrol said in a statement. at WFLA.

Watts pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, according to court records. Bail was set at $2,000. She is due back in court on April 1.

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