PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — An FHP Trooper is being hailed a hero after she blocked the path of an impaired driver near the Skyway 10K race this weekend.
In a split second on Sunday morning, Trooper Toni Schuck jumped into action when a driver broke through barricades for the Skyway 10K race.
“Where I was positioned is probably about a half a mile from the starting point, and so in my mind, I’m thinking, 'she’s going to stop,'” said Schuck. “We have another checkpoint that she’s going to stop at.”
The driver wasn’t stopping for other officers. Dashcam video showed Trooper Schuck, a 26 year veteran of the Patrol, positioning her car in the middle of the road, blocking the path, in what she called an instinct. She thought if the driver saw her, they would stop.
But they didn’t stop, instead, they collided with Schuck nearly head-on.
“It’s hard because 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. “Every day since it’s happened, I’ve thought about it. You go through the what if’s, but I was the last officer. I knew that. I knew it was me, so if it wasn’t me to get her to stop, then who?”
Pictures showed the mangled cars after the wreck. Schuck said she thinks about it every day and goes through what could’ve happened.
“After I was put into the ambulance and we were going over the Skyway to go to the hospital, I got to I don’t know what point of the bridge it was, but I did start to see people," said Schuck. "I saw people still there, and it really overwhelmed me. It was just a situation where I knew there were people there, and just I’m thankful it was me.”
Later determined to be impaired, FHP said the driver was arrested.
“Six hours after the incident occurred, after being released from the hospital, we arrested her, took her to the Manatee County jail, and she gave a breath test thereof .09,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins. "Six hours later."
James Judge was the last person to leave the start line, explaining this happened minutes later.
“At that point, there was still probably a couple of thousand people on the bridge,” said Judge, a spokesperson for the Skyway 10K. “The only thing that was in between me and that person was you.”
Schuck is recovering at home and said she does intend to come back fully to duty.
Schuck has been hailed a hero near and far. ABC Action News asked her how she feels about hearing those words, and she said she just did her job.
“I was sworn to protect, and that’s what I felt I did,” said Schuck. “I feel that what I did, I had to do. I didn’t want to do, but I had to do it,” said Schuck.
Watch the full interview with Trooper Toni Schuck below: