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FHP trooper who protected Skyway 10K runners returns to full duty status

Trooper Toni Schuck is back to work on Tuesday after recovering from the heroic actions she took during the Skyway 10K.

TAMPA, Fla. — The trooper who put her cruiser in the path of an accused drunk driver heading toward runners at the Skyway 10K has officially returned to full duty status with Florida Highway Patrol.

Trooper Toni Schuck took some time away from work to recover from her injuries. During that time, she was widely recognized for her heroic actions. She received the keys to the city for both St. Pete and Bradenton and celebrated "Trooper Toni Schuck Day" on March 22 in Manatee County.

She even got to throw out the first pitch at the Rays home opener.

Trooper Schuck spoke Tuesday morning at FHP's Troop K Suncoast Station, as she made her return to normal work.

She's had a lengthy recovery.

At around 8:45 a.m. on March 6, Kristen Watts, a 52-year-old from Sarasota, drove through the closed toll plaza on the Manatee County side of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, according to Florida Highway Patrol.  

Seeing the approaching car, FHP Sgt. Steve Gaskins radioed two troopers and others to have them intercept the driver and protect thousands of runners participating in the Skyway 10K on the bridge. 

In the dashcam video, you see Schuck's patrol car drive in the middle of two lanes just before Watts' car smashes into the trooper, almost head-on. The sound of sirens and rustling debris can be heard shortly after.

Watts is charged with two counts of DUI with damage to property or person, two counts of reckless driving with damage to property or a person and DUI causing serious bodily injury. FHP reports later revealed that she had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal drinking limit.

Schuck, 47, is a mother of two and a 26-year veteran of FHP.

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