HomeNewsHeroic Florida Officer Drives Between Speeding Drunk Driver and Runners in 10K

Heroic Florida Officer Drives Between Speeding Drunk Driver and Runners in 10K

by Quentin Blount
Photo By Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

It’s true that not all heroes wear capes but some definitely wear badges. Residents are calling one Florida officer a hero after she put herself between a drunk driver and runners in a 10K.

An intense video came out on Monday from the Florida Highway Patrol. The clip shows the moment when Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Toni Shuck, a 26-year veteran of the force, put her own car in the path of a drunk driver, crashing head-on. Trooper Shuck was serving as the last line of defense to marathon runners who were participating in the Skyway 10K.

What You Need To Know

  • A heroic Florida officer drove her patrol car into a drunk driver that was heading straight to where thousands of people were running a 10K
  • The incident unfolded on I-275 in the Tampa Bay area
  • Drunk driver was booked into Manatee County Jail on a $52,000 bond
  • Driver faces charges of DUI-serious injury, two counts of DUI-property damage, and two counts of reckless driving involving injury and property damage

Florida Officer Recovering at Home, Drunk Driver Identified

The driver under the influence has since been identified as 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts. She suffered serious injuries from the crash. Trooper Shuck suffered some injuries as well but is back at home recovering with her family as of Tuesday.

The official Twitter account of the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles and Florida Highway Patrol tweeted a video of the moment the crash happened. You can check out the dramatic dashcam footage for yourself down below:

“HERO ALERT,” the tweet said. “Yesterday, a drunk driver was heading toward the Skyway 10K route and FHP Trooper Toni Schuck selflessly placed her vehicle directly in the path of the drunk driver — preventing a tragedy. Thank you for your service, Trooper Shuck. We wish you a speedy recovery.”

Florida Trooper Says Police Presence at Big Events is ‘Critical’

Meanwhile, another fellow Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kenn Watson is speaking out. He talked about how vital it is for police to be at big events like the Skyway 10K.

“This is exactly why law enforcement is critical to be at these events,” he said. “Making sure that if something unexpected happens, you will have officers there to take action. We are just grateful that we were there, grateful that troopers were able to bring a stop to what could have been a catastrophe.”

Watts was booked into the Manatee County Jail on a $52,000 bond. She is currently facing charges of DUI-serious injury and two counts of DUI-property damage. In addition, she’s looking at two counts of reckless driving involving injury and property damage.

The investigation is still ongoing.