Family members are raising money to help Franklin police officer Scott Legieza return to the United States after suffering a heart attack while on vacation.
Legieza was on a belated honeymoon cruise through the Caribbean. He is being cared for on the island of Sint Maarten, east of Puerto Rico.
Tina D’Errico-Mawson, Legieza’s aunt, told The Tennessean Thursday night that arrangements were being made for Legieza to return to the mainland via medical evacuation on Friday. From there, he and his wife would return to Nashville for treatment.
However, transporting a patient safely across the Caribbean is an expensive process. D’Errico-Mawson said the flight could cost around $30,000, not including transportation to Tennessee.
“I had no idea what it would cost to get there,” D’Errico-Mawson said. “Insurance may cover some of that, but that’s only part of the cost they’ll have to bear.”
Family members launched a GoFundMe page to help cover medical bills, air travel and other expenses resulting from the emergency, including hotel stays. At press time, the fundraiser had received $29,500.
The goal: $100,000.
“With them being out of the country, it makes it so difficult,” D’Errico-Mawson said. “Even when he returns to the United States, he still won’t be back home.”
News of Scott’s heart attack hit Nolensville resident Kim Carson particularly hard. She said her husband, Jeff Carson, a musician and Franklin police officer, was one of Legieza’s closest friends.
Carson died in March after suffering a heart attack.
“I really can’t believe we have another officer who had a heart attack in these few months,” Kim Carson said. “I’m just working to do whatever I can to help her.”
Legieza’s family has already endured tragedy.
Destin Legieza, a Brentwood police officer, was killed in a car accident on June 18, 2020, after a woman from Thompson station drove on the wrong side of Franklin Road and crashed into her car from police. The woman, Ashley Kroese, was found guilty of four counts, including homicide while driving a vehicle by intoxication.
His death inspired an outpouring of community support, leading to vigils, memorial rides, a blood drive, a memorial wall at Brentwood Police Department headquarters, and part of US Highway 31 now named Officer Destin Legieza Memorial Highway .
Once again, the family said they appreciate how the community has supported them. At the end of his phone call with The Tennessean, D’Errico-Mawson gasped at how many people had donated to the fundraiser: 282.
“It was Destin’s badge number. I mean, it’s like, oh, my God,” D’Errico-Mawson said.
“Destiny sends a message.”
Cole Villena covers Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today – Tennessee network. Contact Cole at [email protected] or 615-925-0493. Follow Cole on Twitter at @ColeVillena and on Instagram at @CVinTennessee.