Brentwood, TN – Brentwood Police Department (BPD) Officer Destin Legieza died in the line of duty on June 18, after another driver crossed over the centerline and crashed into his patrol vehicle head-on.
The 30-year-old officer was returning to the police department at the end of his night shift when the deadly collision occurred at approximately 6 a.m., the Tennessean reported.
Officer Legieza was traveling southbound in the area of Brentwood Market and Turner Farm when 24-year-old Ashley Kroese suddenly crossed over from the northbound lane and slammed into his patrol SUV.
Officer Legieza did not survive his injuries.
Kroese suffered non-life threatening injuries during the collision, the Tennessean reported.
She has since been charged with vehicular homicide.
The crash was investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s (THP) Criminal Investigation Division and Critical Incident Response Team, the Tennessean reported.
Officer Legieza graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration and worked for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in Georgia before joining the BPD on Feb. 16, 2015, according to his obituary.
He served as a crime scene technician and as a field training officer during his five years of service with the BPD.
“His accolades included being selected as Officer of the Year in 2016 from the Brentwood Morning Rotary Club,” his obituary read. “He received the Chief’s Sheep Dog Award for outstanding police work and cooperation among law enforcement agencies in 2017.”
Officer Legieza was also posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor and Purple Heart.
“I just think he was all-around the person that everyone should aspire to be,” his lifelong friend, Hailey Sawyer, told WTVF. “He didn’t see color. He didn’t see anything but who you were as a person, and he would do anything for anyone.”
BPD Captain Richard Hickey described the young officer as a “shining star on our police department,” according to the Williamson Source.
Officer Legieza’s father and grandfather both served as law enforcement officers, the Tennessean reported.
“We though he would be here a long time,” Capt. Hickey said.
Officer Legieza’s wife, Heather, described her husband as “the best man I’ve ever met,” according to the Tennessean.
“He had so many friends and family who loved him. He loved the community of Brentwood and always knew he wanted to be a police officer,” Heather added. “To my best friend, I love you forever and I miss you.”
In addition to his wife, Officer Legieza also leaves behind his parents, grandparents, brother, stepbrothers, in-laws, and many friends and extended family members, according to his obituary.
He will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
People are beginning to gather for the procession of the Brentwood police officer who died this morning in the line of duty. pic.twitter.com/5iqIj30iyv
— Emily R. West (@emwest22) June 18, 2020
The damage to Officer Destin Legieza’s car is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He was killed this morning when another driver crossed the center lane and collided with his SUV.
THP is investigating possible criminal charges against the driver. More details to come.@NC5 pic.twitter.com/kn3VH2pjkG
— Levi Ismail (@LeviAIsmail) June 18, 2020
We mourn with our friends and colleagues at the Brentwood Police Department over this morning's tragic death of Officer Destin Legieza. The MNPD has offered its support to Brentwood PD in this most difficult time. pic.twitter.com/5BMzTgxqnE
— Metro Nashville PD (@MNPDNashville) June 18, 2020
These are 3 of the closest night shift officers at the Brentwood Police Department. The one on the far right is 30-year-old Destin Legieza who was killed in a vehicle accident yesterday morning. Hear from his 2 best friends coming up on @wkrn at 6pm. pic.twitter.com/GAmch5o2W9
— Stassy Olmos (@StassyOlmosWKRN) June 19, 2020
JUST IN: This is the mugshot for Ashley Kroese, 24, charged with vehicular homicide for the death of Brentwood Officer Destin Legieza. THP said Kroese was driving the wrong way on Franklin Rd. Thursday morning, when she crashed her vehicle into Legieza’s. @WKRN pic.twitter.com/1pHcuJSyQo
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWKRN) June 23, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Brentwood Police Department Officer Destin Legieza, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.