By Ryan Ballogg

The Bradenton Herald

PALMETTO, Fla. — Within the days since she blocked a rushing and allegedly intoxicated driver from reaching a bridge filled with pedestrians, Florida Freeway Patrol Trooper Toni Schuck has acquired widespread reward for her actions.

Florida Highway Patrol trooper Toni Schuck talks with the media on Thursday, March 10, 2022, she potentially saved lives Sunday by crashing her cruiser into a DUI suspect barreling towards a road race.

Florida Freeway Patrol trooper Toni Schuck talks with the media on Thursday, March 10, 2022, she doubtlessly saved lives Sunday by crashing her cruiser right into a DUI suspect barreling in the direction of a highway race. (Douglas R. Clifford)

The 47-year-old Tampa resident earned public thanks from her company, fellow legislation enforcement officers and numerous neighborhood members expressing appreciation on-line; the incident additionally made nationwide information with a spot on NBC’s ” As we speak Present.”

[EARLIER: Video: Fla. trooper crashes head-on with drunk driver to protect road race]

For Schuck, who was significantly injured within the crash, it’s a second that will not be simply forgotten.

At a press convention on Thursday, the 26-year FHP veteran mirrored on the split-second second when she used her patrol car to cease block the swerving driver.

“Each day because it’s occurred I’ve considered it,” mentioned Schuck, who nonetheless had seen accidents on Thursday. “You undergo the what-ifs.”

The motive force of the rogue sedan, 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, had bypassed an interstate closure that was in place for the Sunshine Skyway 10K on Sunday morning.

The charity occasion attracted hundreds of individuals to stroll and run over the enduring Sunshine Skyway Bridge that joins St. Petersburg’s Pinellas County and Bradenton’s Manatee County throughout Tampa Bay.

A number of legislation enforcement officers tried with out success to cease Watts as she sped nearer to the occasion. Finally, there was just one line of protection left between the rogue driver and the Skyway, FHP later mentioned. And that was Schuck.

“…I used to be the final officer. I knew it was me. If it wasn’t me to get her to cease, then who?” Schuck mentioned.

Watts stays in custody on the Manatee County Jail, in line with sheriff’s workplace data. She faces a number of costs together with DUI with severe bodily harm.

(c)2022 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)

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