A grassroots effort to strengthen Wisconsin's OWI Laws
Ashley was born on December 27, 1989 in Waukesha, Wisconsin
and spent most of her youth in Green Bay where she attended grade school at St.
Mark Lutheran School. Ashley attended high school at Fox Valley Lutheran High
School and graduated with high honors on May 24, 2008. Ashley excelled in her
academics and entered the nursing program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical
College (NWTC) while still completing her final semester of high school. Ashley
was a “natural” with people and was looking forward to a career in nursing. She
was never given that opportunity to serve others and murdered by a drunk driver
ten-days after graduating from high school.
high school, Ashley lettered in tennis, sang in the mixed and treble
choir, participated in mock trial, and performed in various plays and
productions. She was also a gifted poet and wrote often. Her favorite
book was the "Little Prince" and her life exemplified her character,
never losing sight of the child like view of life that most forget
about as they age.
enjoyed serving others and was always a true friend, often standing by
them during most difficult times when others wouldn't. She was also the
big sister to her younger brother, Noah, and sister, Madeline. Even
though she worked three part-time jobs, she always found time for
family, including her parents, Mike & Lisa Knetzger. Ashley would
never say goodbye when walking out the door, but rather joyfully
quipped, "Love you all."
June 3, 2008, Ashley spent the day volunteering at the Fox Valley
Lutheran Tennis camp coaching and teaching the younger players.
Later that evening she worked at Red Robin and then spent time
with her good friend, Talhia Heroux, also 18. At 9:28 p.m., Talhia was driving her Buick east on
Willard Drive at S. Oneida Street. Ashley was in the front passenger seat. They
were both on their way back to Texas Roadhouse. They followed the green light
in front of them and drove into the intersection.
A speeding 2,000 pound bullet, a silver Porsche Boxter, driven by 46-year-old Anrietta Geske was speeding south on S. Oneida Street approaching
Willard Drive. Anrietta had just finished an evening of drinking at a west side
Green Bay bar. Drunk, she decided to race another car and slammed the
accelerator to the floor, ramming through each gear. The Porsche reached speeds
in excess of 80 miles-per-hour on this 30 mile-per-hour road, a heavily traveled entertainment and business
district. The Porsche never slowed for the red light at Willard Drive.
The Porsche slammed into the driver's side of Talhia's Buick. Neither Ashley or Talhia had a chance. The Porsche pierced and penetrated nearly half-way through the
Buick. The impact was so massive that the Buick wrapped around the Porsche and
sprung back. Both cars were “stuck” together and slid over 120-feet from point
of impact to final rest. Ashley and Talhia were murdered; both lives cut short
by the actions of Anrietta Geske, a “first offense” drunk driver. In March 2009, after a week-long jury trial, Anrietta
Geske was found guilty of two counts of homicide by intoxicated use, two counts
of first degree reckless homicide, and one count of recklessly endangering
safety. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Sue Bischel sentenced Anrietta Geske
to 80-years in the Wisconsin State prison system.
This site is dedicated to Ashley’s memory. She was a
difference maker and it’s our goal to make a difference in Wisconsin and
prevent drunk driving deaths. Unfortunately, Wisconsin ranks within the top
five states for alcohol related problems and coddles first offense drunk
drivers, regardless of how dangerous they are. A first offense drunk driver is
merely issued a traffic citation (an ordinance violation – not a crime) with no
risk of jail time or other sanctions except a license suspension or revocation.
Attitudes towards drinking and driving need to change and we hope this Web site
can serve as yet another avenue of change.
Please visit our legislative page for additional information.
A scholarship fund has been established in Ashley’s
memory at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Foundation. Ashley’s
scholarship benefits a student each year that is pursuing a nursing degree. The
ideal student to receive this award will exemplify high academics and service
to the community. Donations can be sent directly to the NWTC Foundation, P.O.
Box 19042, Green Bay, WI 54307-9042. All donations are tax deductable. Please
note on your check or money order that your donation should be directed to the
“Ashley Knetzger Scholarship.”
PLEASE VISIT OUR VIDEOS PAGE FOR AUDIO AND NEWS FOOTAGE OF "ASHLEY'S STORY"