MANATEE COUNTY, FL. – On Sunday, March 6, 2022, at 8:45 AM, a 2011 BMW 335i was traveling northbound on I-275 at an excessive rate of speed, approaching a road closure in place due to the Armed Forces Skyway 10K Race involving nearly 7,000 participants and scores of support staff.
The BMW failed to stop or detour onto US-41 as directed; instead, the vehicle drove through numerous traffic cones and around other barricades with State Officers present.
The State Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop of the vehicle which continued northbound on SR-93. Failing to stop for the State Officers, the BMW encountered two additional FWC Officers assigned to guard the northbound Skyway Toll Plaza.
Once again, the BMW failed to stop and continued through the Toll Plaza. The BMW then encountered two FHP Troopers who were responding southbound in the northbound lanes of SR-93 from the south Skyway rest area to intercept the vehicle and protect the thousands afoot on the Skyway Bridge.
As the BMW approached the two Troopers, the driver evaded the first Trooper and collided nearly head-on with the second Trooper who steered into the path of the BMW to end the event. The collision caused serious injuries to both drivers who were transported to an area hospital and closed the northbound lanes of SR-93 until 2:00 PM.
Later determined to be impaired, the driver of the BMW, identified as Kristen Kay Watts, 52, of Sarasota, was arrested by FHP Troopers for DUI-Serious Injury, two counts of DUI-Property Damage, and two counts of Reckless Driving Involving Injury and Property Damage was delivered to the Manatee County Jail.