State Trooper Seriously Injured After Preventing DUI Driver from Hitting Runners

NBC News reports that a woman is facing felony charges after driving into a roadblock set aside for runners in a 10K race over the weekend in Palmetto, Florida.

According to a statement released by local authorities, 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota has been charged with DUI resulting in serious injury after ignoring a series of roadblocks across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that connects St. Petersburg and Palmetto.

Police reports indicate that at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, March 6, Watts ignored a marked detour and wove her 2011 BMW 335i through a series of traffic barriers and cones that were set up to protect thousands of race participants and spectators.

Even as State Troopers tried to intercept Watts, she continued to approach the bridge. She also drove past several Florida Fish and Wildlife officers stationed near the closed toll plaza in Manatee County. 

In an effort to stop Watts, two Florida State Troopers parked their cruisers in the northbound lanes of the bridge. Watts’ vehicle struck one of the cruisers almost head-on before she came to a stop. One of the State Troopers, Officer Toni Schuck, and Watts were injured in the collision.

Paramedics transferred Officer Schuck and Watts to an area hospital for treatment. Schuck, a 26-year-veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol, is currently listed in serious condition.

After Watts was treated and released by doctors, she was immediately taken into custody by Palmetto Police and taken to Manatee County Jail. 

Newsweek also reported on the crash. Watts provided two Breathalyzer samples to the FHP with a blood alcohol level of 0.994 and 0.90 – which is over the legal limit of 0.8 percent.

Related Frequently Asked Questions