Woman charged in Skyway DUI crash ruled competent to proceed with case

Kristen Kay Watts
Kristen Kay Watts(Manatee County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 8:51 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota woman accused of seriously injuring a Florida Highway Patrol trooper in an alleged DUI crash on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in March has been found competent to proceed with the case.

In court documents filed Oct. 10, Judge Lon Arend accepted a court-appointed doctor’s evaluation and ruled Kristen Kay Watts is competent to proceed.

In June, Watts was ruled unable to proceed or enter a plea. She was committed to a mental health treatment facility. Details of the psychologist’s findings have been sealed.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Watts drove through barricades set for the Sunshine Skyway Bridge 10K, heading toward the race route. Trooper Toni Schuck put her patrol SUV into Watts’ path, authorities said, to protect racers. They collided head-on. Troopers say they could smell the odor of alcohol on Watts’ breath.

The police report said Watts was only able to participate in one sobriety exercise and showed obvious signs of impairment around her eyes.

According to a probable cause affidavit, a blood sample was taken from Watts at 11:07 a.m. Hospital staff told investigators the test indicated Watts’ blood alcohol level was 0.271. The legal limit for drivers in Florida is 0.08.

Watts’ next hearing is scheduled Nov. 29 in Manatee County Court.