First day of testimony ends in trial for Ashley Kroese

Woman accused in wrong-way crash that killed Brentwood officer
Ashley Kroese
Posted at 8:19 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 13:38:00-05

Watch our coverage of the second day of testimony by clicking this link.

The first day of testimony has begun in the trial for Ashley Kroese.

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.

brentwood officer crash

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.

Jury selection began Monday, with the jury of eight women and four men seated the same day. On Tuesday, both sides presented their opening statements, which concluded in less than 30 minutes.

In his opening statements, lead prosecutor Carlin Hess contrasted how the defendant and the officer spent the hours leading up to the crash. He said as Officer Legieza was starting his overnight shift; Kroese was starting up what Hess called a long night of drinking.

People in the gallery, including the officer's wife, became emotional when crash scene responders testified Legieza was slumped over the steering wheel and barely able to breathe.

The witness that the defense cross-examined the longest was a Tennessee Highway Patrol investigator.

Kroese's blood was taken by a nurse as soon as she got to the hospital. That's what the THP investigator said he took for the blood used in the DUI hit, rather than following the protocol.

The defense seems to be trying to show this investigation was rushed. The state will have to convince the jury that Kroese's intoxication caused the head-on crash.