MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Kristen Kay Watts, the suspected drunk driver who crashed into a Florida trooper near the Skyway 10K race in 2022 is expected to plead guilty to DUI.
The Florida Highway Patrol said the 53-year-old Sarasota resident endangered participants of the Skyway 10K race when she drove drunk on Interstate 275, sped through barriers approaching the bridge, and dodged several marked police cars blocking traffic.
Trooper Toni Schuck, who was the race’s last line of defense, was credited with saving lives after maneuvering her patrol SUV into Watt’s path to stop it from hitting runners.
“I was the last officer, I knew that — I knew it was me,” Schuck recalled about the moments leading up to the crash. “If it wasn’t me to get her to stop, then who? I don’t know.”
Watts was arrested and charged with DUI serious injury but was later determined to be incompetent to stand trial.
Court documents filed by her attorney claim Watts began to experience severe depression and anxiety in the months prior to the accident. A rehabilitation program she joined in 2021 “did little to assist her with persistent paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic episodes,” her lawyer added.
She was later admitted to treatment and found competent to proceed with the trial.
Her attorney requested the state drop her fleeing or eluding charge and instead accept her guilty plea to DUI which would carry 12 months of probation and 50 hours of community service.
Watts is scheduled for a case management hearing on Oct. 25 and sentencing on Nov. 6.