BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – Ashley Kroese, the woman who was found guilty of driving under the influence and killing Brentwood police officer Destin Legieza, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
In February, Kroese was found guilty of all four counts:
- Vehicular homicide (intoxication)
- Vehicular homicide (0.08 percent alcohol consumption or greater)
- Vehicular homicide (reckless conduct)
- Reckless aggravated assault resulting in death
Judge James G. Martin said Kroese will only have to serve 30 percent of the term, the equivalent of two and a half years. Her driver’s license will also be suspended for five years.
Officer Legieza’s mother Julie Ray and father Scott Legieza both spoke at Kroese’s sentencing hearing and were overcome with emotion.
“My son’s body was internally mutilated from the horrific crash that Ashley selfishly caused,” said Scott Legieza. “Ashley, I don’t know you… but what I do know is that you murdered my son. The completely selfish, unapologetic timeline of your decisions you made the night before in that early morning has put me and my family through hell.”
Officer Legieza’s widow Heather Legieza couldn’t fight back tears during the sentencing hearing.
Officer Legieza was killed in the early morning hours of June 18, 2020. Investigators reported the then 24-year-old Kroese drove the wrong way down Franklin Road, crossed over the center line, and crashed head-on into Officer Legieza’s patrol vehicle. The 30-year-old and five-year veteran of the force died at the scene. He is the first Brentwood police officer to die in the line of duty.
“I can’t pretend to understand what you have been going through. I’ve never lost a husband, a son, or a brother,” said Kroese. “Nothing I can say today will ease your pain. I know that, but I am truly and deeply sorry.”
After the guilty verdict was read, Kroese was handcuffed in Officer Legieza’s handcuffs and led out of the courtroom, District Attorney Kim Helper said.
Brentwood Police Chief Richard Hickey shared the following statement with News 2:
“We are disappointed with the 8 year sentence. An 8 year sentence in reality means that Ashley Kroese will spend about 2 ½ years in jail. Our disappointment is not with Judge Martin or the District Attorney’s Office, but with the sentencing guidelines and structure that allow for such a lenient sentence on such a preventable crime. We realize that no amount of jail time will bring Destin back to his family or us, but how killing someone, in this case a police officer, is only worth 2 ½ years in jail doesn’t quite seem equitable.”
Officer Legieza is the only Brentwood police officer to die in the line of duty.