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VIDEO: State Trooper Allows Drunken Driver To Ram Her At Speed To Prevent Tragedy At Charity Run

Toni Schuck, a 26-year veteran of state law enforcement, suffered serious injuries in the crash.

A heroic police officer was badly hurt in a crash in Florida when she deliberately used her patrol car to block a speeding driver heading toward a charity race with thousands of runners.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles said the motorist was heading at high speed to the Skyway 10K Bridge Run in St. Petersburg. The event featured nearly 8,000 runners trying to raise money for the families of the United States Armed Forces.

The incident took place on Interstate 275.

The footage, shot from the police vehicle dashboard camera, shows the officer’s vehicle maneuvering into position as the motorist’s car approaches.

The suspect then plows into the police car at speed. The video clip suggests the camera has been pushed inside the police car. There is only white visible on screen until the end of the footage.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shared the video and said: “Florida Highway Patrol Master Trooper Toni Schuck put herself directly in harm’s way and prevented a tragedy at the Skyway 10K Bridge Run.

“A drunk driver traveling at a high rate of speed was heading toward the Skyway 10K route and thousands of participating runners. Trooper Schuck responded and drove her vehicle directly into the path of the oncoming drunk driver.

“Thank you for your bravery and self-sacrifice, Trooper Schuck. We wish you a speedy recovery.”

The front of the trooper’s Chevy Tahoe was crushed halfway back to its windshield.

Dashcam video shows Trooper Toni Schuck driving into a speeding DUI suspect’s path to protect Skyway 10K runners in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles/Zenger)

The suspect has been named as 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts. It is alleged she breached barriers set up after the road was closed to allow the run to take place.

“This driver had blown past several check points, going around traffic cones, going around other officers and had engaged in high speeds,” Trooper Ken Watson told Fox 13.

“There was no time to think. You have to act. Without question, she was the last line of defense,” Watson said of his colleague.

Schuck, who has been in state law enforcement for 26 years, suffered serious injuries in the incident, but is expected to recover.

Watts was also seriously injured in the collision and has been charged with driving under the influence, as well as causing serious bodily harm.

Watts was booked into Manatee County Jail with a $52,000 bond. She faces DUI-serious injury, two counts of DUI-property damage and two counts of reckless driving involving injury and property damage.

Each day in the U.S., about 28 people die in drunk-driving car crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over the 10-year period from 2010 to 2019, more than 10,000 people died each year in drunk-driving car accidents, the agency reports.

In Florida, the drunk-driving fatalities from 2009 to 2018 totaled 7,573.

Edited by Fern Siegel and Kristen Butler

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