The wrongful death lawsuit arising from the death of Brentwood police officer Destin Legieza has been settled.
Officer Legieza died on June 18, 2020 when his patrol vehicle was hit head-on in his lane of travel southbound on Franklin Road.
The defendant in the case, Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, LLC, (Kimbro’s) has agreed to pay a
settlement. It also approves the release of the following joint statement with Officer Legieza’s widow, Heather:
Through the lawsuit, Kimbro’s has learned that its original statement about this case was inaccurate. Ms. Legieza and her lawyers uncovered facts that Kimbro’s ownership was unaware of.
Kimbro’s understands that Ms. Legieza’s goal was to find the truth and seek justice for her husband, Officer Destin Legieza. We apologize to her for any additional grief our earlier statement may have caused. The lawsuit has been resolved, but we continue to feel terrible for Ms. Legieza’s loss and wish her the best in the future.
The following additional context is provided by Officer Legieza’s wife Heather and her attorneys:
Ashley Kroese arrived at Kimbro’s around midnight on June 18, 2020. Before going to Kimbro’s, Ms. Kroese drank wine and at least one cocktail of whiskey and cognac. Witnesses say that, at Kimbro’s, Ms. Kroese drank whiskey and beer. A Kimbro’s bartender told friends the next day that Ms. Kroese was so intoxicated that Kimbro’s staff fed her potato chips and encouraged her to sleep in the bar to sober up.
In a press release issued after the wrongful death lawsuit was filed and in papers filed with the court, statements, Kimbro’s repeatedly said it did not know where Ms. Kroese was or what she was doing for “several hours” before the 4:40 a.m. collision. Nearby surveillance video, however, shows Kimbro’s manager walking Ms. Kroese to her car near 4:30 a.m.
A few minutes later, Ms. Kroese was driving north in the wrong lane of Franklin Road with her headlights off. She struck Officer Legieza’s squad car head-on, killing him. Testing showed Ms. Kroese had a blood alcohol concentration of .166, more than twice the legal limit. The criminal prosecution of Ms. Kroese is ongoing.
Tennessee law permits the spouse of a person killed by an intoxicated driver to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a bar or restaurant who sold alcohol to the driver. The surviving spouse must prove that the bar or restaurant sold alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person and that the sale of the alcohol contributed to the death.
Mrs. Legieza says all she wanted from the lawsuit was justice and to understand the truth of what occurred that night.
“I really just expected to get justice for my husband. That’s all I really wanted in the
end. I wanted to know the truth above anything else and hold whoever was responsible,
responsible for what happened to Destin,” Heather Legieza said.
“The most important part of this whole experience is to hold those accountable for what
happened. You know, Destin wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just at work, doing his job, doing what he was supposed to be doing. And then out of nowhere, his life just ended for, for no reason whatsoever. So I think it’s very important to hold those responsible, because there are consequences for your actions.”
“I ultimately feel like I received justice against Kimbro’s to this, through this lawsuit.
And when we uncovered the details and the truth came out, they were held fully responsible. I just hope at the criminal trial, Ashley’s held fully responsible for what she did,” she added.
Mrs. Legieza also wants to remind people that drinking and driving is preventable.
“Drinking and driving is a senseless crime, and it’s 100% preventable. There are so
many resources out there today, with Uber, Lyft, taxis, call a friend. Anything to get you home safe. My husband’s life was taken by a drunk driver and all it took was someone to step in to get her a safe ride home, or for her to call for a safe ride home. She – she took someone’s life that night, but she’s impacted myself, his mom, his dad, his brother, his family, his friends, his co- worker, and this community. All over one decision to drink and drive. It’s ruined my life and many others, as well as hers. It’s just not worth it.”
Ms. Leigeza was represented by the Law Offices of John Day, P.C., a law firm with offices in
Brentwood, Nashville, and Murfreesboro. The law firm has worked to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving. To discourage drinking and driving, it has a “Safe Ride Home” program, which helps pay ride-sharing fees after certain events where alcohol is likely to be consumed.