)
Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Breaking News

Dashcam shows FHP trooper crashing into driver headed toward Skyway during race

Kristen Kay Watts, 52, of Sarasota was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, causing serious bodily harm, troopers said.
The driver of the BMW 335i sedan on the left, Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury on Sunday.
The driver of the BMW 335i sedan on the left, Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury on Sunday. [ Florida Highway Patrol ]
Published Mar. 6|Updated Mar. 9

PALMETTO — A woman crashed into a Florida Highway Patrol vehicle Sunday morning after failing to stop for multiple road closure signs in place for the Skyway 10K race, troopers said.

Kristen Kay Watts, 52, from Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury after she drove onto a portion of northbound Interstate 275 that was closed for the Skyway 10K race and crashed nearly head-on into a trooper’s SUV, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The driver of the BMW 335i sedan on the left, Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury on Sunday after she drove onto a portion of Interstate 275 that had been closed for the Skyway 10K race and slammed head-on into a Florida Highway Patrol SUV, at right, resulting in serious injuries to both drivers, troopers said.
The driver of the BMW 335i sedan on the left, Kristen Kay Watts of Sarasota, was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence resulting in serious injury on Sunday after she drove onto a portion of Interstate 275 that had been closed for the Skyway 10K race and slammed head-on into a Florida Highway Patrol SUV, at right, resulting in serious injuries to both drivers, troopers said. [ The Florida Highway Patrol ]

Watts was driving a 2011 BMW 335i north on Interstate 275 at a high rate of speed about 8:45 a.m. Sunday when she approached a road closure for the race and failed to detour onto U.S. 41 as directed, troopers said. Instead, Watts drove through multiple traffic cones and other barricades with state officers present. Officers tried to pull over Watts but she continued driving north, troopers said.

Related: UPDATE: Drunk driver in Skyway 10K crash was 3 times over legal limit, troopers say

Watts then came upon two Florida Fish and Wildlife officers guarding the northbound toll plaza and failed to stop. Two Florida Highway Patrol troopers in separate vehicles drove south in the northbound lane to intercept Watts and protect the thousands of race participants still on foot on the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Both patrol vehicles stopped. Within moments, Watts collided nearly head-on with one of them, a marked 2019 Chevy Tahoe.

The Highway Patrol on Monday released dramatic dashcam video showing the crash, which is below.

The crashed caused serious injuries to Watts and the trooper behind the wheel of the Tahoe, Toni Schuck, 47. Watts and Schuck were taken to nearby hospitals.

Schuck has worked for the Florida Highway patrol for 26 years.

“The FHP acknowledges and expresses our appreciation to the many that have expressed their gratitude for the trooper’s selfless actions,” the Florida Highway Patrol said in a media release Monday.

Watts was also charged with two counts of driving under the influence resulting in property damage and two counts of reckless driving involving injury and property damage. Watts was taken to the Manatee County Jail.

The annual Skyway 10K race raises money for the Armed Forces Families Foundation.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge