Second day of testimony concludes in trial for Ashley Kroese

Woman accused in wrong-way crash that killed Brentwood officer
Ashley Kroese
Posted at 12:23 PM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 20:00:06-05

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Testimony in the trial for Ashley Kroese continued in Williamson County on Wednesday.

Kroese is accused of driving drunk on the wrong side of the road, hitting and killing Brentwood Officer Destin Legieza. The crash happened in June 2020 in front of the Brentwood Market on Franklin Road. According to an arrest affidavit, Kroese had a blood alcohol content of 0.166% and was driving northbound in the southbound lanes when she hit his squad car.

Officer Legieza died at the scene. He was 30 years old. He’s the only officer to die on duty in the department's 50-year history.

Kroese is charged with vehicular homicide, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment with a vehicle, driving on the right-hand side of the road.

On the second day of testimony, the jury was shown more photos of the crash scene. Several Tennessee Highway Patrol officers testified about reconstructing the crash scene during the investigation and showed photos of Officer Legieza's SUV and Kroese's Jeep.

Next, the jury heard about how Kroese spent the hours leading up to the deadly crash. The state presented phone records showing Kroese put in directions to three bars the evening before the crash. Multiple people testified about what she had to drink in that span of nine hours.

Four people that were in her company from June 17 into June 18, 2020, each gave different accounts. Testimony came from two people who were drinking with her that night, one bartender and a sober bar employee who was off the clock, but in her company.

A man and woman who went from O'Be Joyful to Kimbro's Pickin Parlor with Kroese said cocktails were purchased for her at both locations, but they couldn't confirm how much she consumed. They also said they left two hours before Kroese.

The state also called Jessica Hoertner-Simons, a Kimbro's bartender who closed the bar that night. She said she felt she needed to keep an eye on Kroese's group, but did not say it was because Kroese was visibly drunk. Instead, she said it was because Kroese or someone in her group asked for water and a snack.

Max Jordan, a manager at Kimbro's who is also sober, said he only saw her drink one beer — and nothing she did made him think she was drunk. Jordan was not working that night, but was at the bar to meet up with friends. He testified that he spent a combined two hours with Kroese, telling the jury he only saw her holding one beer and then a water.

Traffic cameras show Jordan walking Kroese to her car just before 4:30 a.m. Then she was seen driving in the direction of Brentwood Market on Franklin Road, where the crash happened.

Court wrapped up for the day by 4 p.m., with plans to return Thursday at 9 a.m.