Florida Highway Safety Patrol recently released dashcam footage of the moment an officer let a drunk driver crash their speeding vehicle into her patrol car in order to save the lives of runners in an event that totaled 8,000 participants.
Law enforcement said the incident took place just after 8:45am on Sunday as 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota blasted past an Interstate 275 closure and failed to stop for multiple law enforcement officers.
Kristen, in her BMW, sped past one FHP cruiser attempting to block her passage on northbound I-275 before ultimately crashing almost head-on into 26-year veteran of the force, Trooper Toni Schuck’s patrol car.
The crash left both Kristen and Toni seriously injured. Kristen was found guilty and charged with two counts of DUI with property damage and two counts of reckless driving involving injury and property damage.
“The Florida Highway Patrol applauds the actions of Trooper Toni Schuck, a 26 year veteran of the patrol who, as the last line of defense to the Skyway 10K runners, placed herself in harm’s way to protect others,” Yahoo reported the police agency saying Monday.
The running event’s organizers at Skyway 10k shared a public thank you to Toni on Facebook letting her know how grateful they were for her bravery and dedication to protect the running event.
“On behalf of the Skyway 10K, we are beyond thankful for our law enforcement partners and the trooper who risked her life to keep our race participants safe. We are extremely grateful for the Florida Highway Patrol and all of our federal, state and local law enforcement partner agencies, not only for providing layers of security for this event, but the sacrifices they make every day,” the post said.
As of now, Kristen is still in custody at the Manatee County Jail and will be held in lieu of a $52,000 bail. Florida Highway Patrol said for anyone who wants to send Trooper Toni well wishes can send mail to Florida Highway Patrol, 11305 North McKinley Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, or contact the agency on social media.