MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper who put herself in harm’s way to protect runners on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is being honored in Manatee County for her bravery.
The Manatee County Commission designated March 22, 2022 as Trooper Toni Schuck Day on Tuesday.
“She literally put her life at risk to save hundreds or thousands of people that were in danger, many of those people are Manatee County residents and I thought that it was important that we recognize her as the hometown hero that she is,” said Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge.
Schuck was hailed a hero for her actions during the Skyway 10K run earlier this month. She put herself in harm’s way and used her patrol vehicle to stop a drunk driving suspect from getting onto the Skyway Bridge where the run was taking place.
Schuck, a 26-year veteran of the FHP, was serving as the last line of defense between the driver and the runners. Both the suspect and Schuck were seriously injured in the nearly head-on collision.
“I have watched that video a few times and it gets harder to watch every time because it could’ve ended up so differently than what it did. You showed such courage, bravery and the one thing I think hits me the most is that you showed your love for our community,” said Commissioner Vanessa Baugh.
Trooper Schuck thanked commissioners for the recognition, humbled to receive the honor.
“I am glad she didn’t get past me. I am glad that it was me and nobody else got hurt,” said Trooper Schuck Tuesday morning.
Troopers say 52-year-old Kristen Kay Watts was behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit Trooper Schuck. The Sarasota woman was arrested on multiple DUI-related charges. Court records show she entered a plea of ‘not guilty’. Her next court date is scheduled for next week.