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Florida Highway Patrol Risks Life To Save Thousands At Skyway 10K Race

Manatee County, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - We are hearing from a courageous trooper who risked her life to save hundreds of people.

Florida Highway Patrol Officer, Toni Schuck, blocked a drunk driver from driving into a crows at the Skyway 10K race on Sunday.

"I've done this for 26 years and I've never been in this position…I've never been in this position where I've had to put myself for somebody else," said Schuck.

It's a moment Florida Highway Patrol Trooper, Toni Schuck, will never forget.

"I do the 'what-ifs'… if she got past me what would have happened?" said Schuck.

Schuck was working Sunday morning at the Skyway 10K run, when she heard over the radio that a driver was recklessly driving past several security checkpoints, heading towards the running route.

"I was the last officer, I knew that. I knew it was me," said Schuck.

With thousands of people still on the Skyway Bridge, and the impaired driver, 52 year old Kristen Watts, driving well over the speed limit, Schuck made a decision.

"I had positioned the car in the middle of the road and I'm not trained to do that, it was just instinct. I thought that if she got past sergeant carter, she would see that truck and she would stop," said Schuck.

But Watts didn't…and she crashed directly into Schuck's patrol car.

"I had a guardian angel with me. I don't know who it was," said Schuck.

Schuck says she didn't know how many people were on the bridge, until she was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital .

"It was just a situation in which people were there and I'm thankful it was me," said Schuck.

Watts was taken to the hospital and then to the Manatee County Jail, officials say her blood alcohol concentration was three times over the legal limit.

Schuck is now recovering from her injuries and 10K runner, James Judge, says he's forever grateful that Trooper Schuck was there.

"I was sworn to protect and that's what I felt I did. 'Hero,' that's just a title," said Schuck.

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