AshleyKroese_2021_WilliamsonCoCourt (1 of 2).jpg

Ashley Kroese appears in a Williamson County Court in November 2021 during a pre-trial hearing ahead of her Feb. 2022 trial in the death of Brentwood Police Officer Destin Legieza. 

Ashley Kroese, the Thompson’s Station woman charged in the 2020 death of Brentwood police officer Destin Legieza, will have her case heard before a jury in February.

Kroese, 26, has been free since July 2020 on a $750,000 bond, and is facing a slew of charges including two counts of vehicular homicide by intoxication, vehicular homicide, aggravated assault that resulted in death, reckless endangerment with a vehicle and driving on the right.

She appeared in a Williamson County Court on Nov. 29 and Dec. 10. Judge James G. Martin III heard several motions submitted by the defense, which attempted to suppress Kroese’s blood test where prosecutors said it showed blood-alcohol level at 0.166, double the legal limit in Tennessee, as well as motions to suppress video recordings of Kroese’s vehicle prior to the crash and a recording of the fatal crash.

In November, a Tennessee Highway Patrol state trooper testified that due to her condition following the crash, Kroese was unable to be interviewed by law enforcement and then was admitted to surgery.

Destin Scott Legieza obit

Brentwood Police Officer Destin Scott Legieza.

Four vials of her blood, which had been drawn by hospital personnel when she arrived at Vanderbilt University Medical Center around 6 a.m, were later seized by troopers following a warrant that was issued by a judge in order to find out if Kroese had been intoxicated at the time of the crash. 

Troopers submitted the warrant for the blood sample to a VUMC staff member when Kroese was in surgery, and the sample was given to troopers around 2:45 p.m. before it was transported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, who later tested the sample.

Kroese’s attorney Lee Ofman argued that the search warrant didn't give THP the right or authority to seize blood samples that had already been drawn from Kroese for medical purposes, and also questioned the chain of custody and admissibility of the sample.

In December, Ofman argued for the suppression of three videos, two from Brentwood traffic cameras that showed what prosecutors said was Kroese’s Jeep SUV drive through two intersections without illuminated headlights, in one instance driving in the opposite lane, and one private security camera video that showed the fatal head-on collision in front of the Brentwood Market convenience store on Franklin Road.

That private camera footage came from an exterior camera on the Brentwood Market, feet from where the collision occurred, with the rear end of the BPD patrol SUV coming to rest next to the business’ curb-side mailbox. 

The video captured the crash, which was partially obscured by the camera’s time-stamp, but several versions of the footage were shown to the court including zoomed in and slowed down versions which had been digitally enhanced by a THP Digital Forensics Technician. 

The defense argued against the admissibility of the videos, claiming that there is no evidence that the SUV shown in the traffic cameras was in fact the same one that Kroese had been driving, and taking issue with the Brentwood Market video which had an incorrect time stamp — with the video showing the crash happening at a recorded date and time of around 4 p.m. on June 17 while the crash actually occurred at approximately 4:50 a.m. on June 18, 2020.

The owner of the Brentwood Market testified that the timestamp error had existed prior to the crash, possibly due to a previous power failure that could have reset the date and time, and both the owner and law enforcement officials testified to the authenticity of the footage of the fatal crash.

Judge Martin denied all of the defense’s motions in relation to the blood sample and the video recordings, and now lawyers on both sides are preparing to present the case before a jury beginning on Feb. 14, 2022.

In April 2021, Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, a Franklin bar that Kroese left prior to the early morning crash, settled a civil suit that was filed by lawyers representing Legieza’s widow, and in June 2021, the City of Brentwood renamed the section of Franklin Road where Legieza was killed to the “Officer Destin Legieza Memorial Highway.”