By Grant Atkinson March 9, 2022 at 4:50pm
A Florida police officer put her life on the line Sunday to protect a large group of runners from a drunk driver.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shared dash camera footage of the heroic stand.
In the video, a car can be seen barreling toward Trooper Toni Schuck. According to WTVJ-TV, Schuck was monitoring a road closure for the Armed Forces Skyway 10K race near Tampa, Florida.
Two Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and two Florida Highway Patrol officers were ordered to “intervene,” WFLA-TV reported.
Schuck began driving toward the oncoming driver, who was later identified as 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts. It quickly became clear Watts was not going to stop.
In order to prevent Watts from potentially steamrolling into the runners, Schuck bravely drove her police car head-on into Watts’ car.
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 Schuck. We wish you a speedy recovery. pic.twitter.com/JDYd80sn3C
— FLHSMV (@FLHSMV) March 7, 2022
Given Watts’ speed, Schuck’s actions definitely put her own life at risk. But it was a risk she was willing to take in order to protect the unsuspecting runners.
In a statement to WFLA, FHP said it was concerned “runners could have been impacted and/or injured” by Watts.
While it is unclear how many runners were present at the time, the race reportedly had 8,000 participants. Schuck was willing to risk her own life in order to protect any of those.
Who runs the Sunshine Skyway Bridge? We do! 8,000 runners took to the the mighty Sunshine Skyway Bridge on foot for the 5th Annual Skyway 10K. 100% of proceeds go to the Armed Forces Families Foundation, which has generated nearly $2 million to benefit families of military. 🏃♂️☀️ pic.twitter.com/xhY04lyPca
— St. Pete/Clearwater (@VSPC) March 7, 2022
Both Watts and Schuck were hospitalized as a result of the crash, WFLA reported. FHP said Schuck was proud to have protected the runners despite her own injuries.
“While the crash was severe, I know the injured Trooper who is currently receiving medical care as I author this email, is absolutely relieved to have been available to ensure the safety of hundreds of innocent persons,” a spokesperson for FHP told WFLA.
Watts faces at least five different charges as a result of the incident, WTVJ reported. They include DUI causing serious injury, two counts of reckless driving with damage to person or property, and two counts of DUI with damage to person or property.
As the left has pushed to demonize police officers in recent years, it is important to remember the heroic actions many police officers take every day.
While there are certainly police officers who make poor decisions or act in bad faith, the vast majority of them act to protect the public in any way they can.
Trooper Schuck’s actions are a perfect reminder of the heroic actions our police officers take in order to protect us, and we at The Western Journal are praying for her speedy and full recovery.