State, defense rest their case in trial for Ashley Kroese on third day of testimony

Woman accused in wrong-way crash that killed Brentwood officer
ashley kroese
Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 19:25:50-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The trial for a woman accused in a wrong-way crash that killed a Brentwood police officer has ended its third day of testimony.

Ashley Kroese is accused of driving drunk on the wrong side of the road and smashing into Officer Destin Legieza's patrol vehicle during the early morning hours of June 18, 2020. Legieza died at the scene. He was 30 years old.

The crash happened in front of the Brentwood Market on Franklin Road. Legieza is the only officer to die on duty in the Brentwood Police Department's 50-year history.

According to an arrest affidavit, Kroese had a blood alcohol content of 0.166% when she hit his squad car. Much of the testimony has centered around Kroese's actions in the hours leading up to the crash. The state will have to convince the jury that her intoxication caused the head-on crash.

By 2 p.m. Thursday, both the state and defense have rested their cases. Kroese, who is 26 years old, also waived her right to testify.

Kroese is facing a charge of vehicular homicide, which has the potential for a 30-year prison sentence. She has also been charged with aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment with a vehicle, driving on the right-hand side of the road.

During court on Thursday, the state called JaQueya Ogilvie, a forensic scientist who works in the toxicology unit at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Ogilvie testified she concluded Kroese's blood alcohol content was 0.166%. In its cross-examination, the defense asked Ogilvie how confident she was the sample hadn't been tampered with before it arrived to her.

Defense attorney Lee Offman asked Ogilvie who handled the samples before the TBI received them. She replied, "I couldn't tell you that."

The state rested its case mid-morning after calling Heather Legieza to the stand. Heather is the widow of Officer Legieza. She spoke only for a few minutes, but the courtroom was full of emotion as she showed a photo of her late husband.

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The defense called more people who observed Kroese's actions at the last bar she went to in the early hours of June 18, 2020. Witnesses testified that Kroese didn't slur her words and walked steadily while in high heels.

Her attorneys also called the first person to drive toward the crash scene. The witness said she did not smell alcohol on Kroese when she went to check on her.

Court will resume on Friday at 9 a.m. for closing arguments.