Former Nashville reserve officer to appear in court this week

A former reserve Nashville police officer charged with two misdemeanors in a police pursuit of a motorcyclist will have his initial hearing in Bartholomew County on Thursday.

Leonard Burch, 25, who lives on Pearl Street in Columbus, has been charged in Bartholomew Superior Court 2 with false informing, a Class B misdemeanor, and reckless driving, a Class C misdemeanor, court documents state. Burch was summoned to appear by the court for a 10:30 a.m. hearing before Judge Kitty Coriden.

A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

The probable-cause affidavit filed in Bartholomew Superior Court 2 accuses Burch, who was off-duty, of pursuing 18-year-old motorcyclist Xavier Scrogham of Hope recklessly at a high rate of speed through Columbus and part of rural Bartholomew County about 11:36 p.m. Aug. 29.

The affidavit also accuses Burch of making a false statement to a 911 dispatcher that Scrogham’s motorcycle had passed Burch’s police car going 120 mph before Burch began his pursuit at about 11:36 p.m. in the southbound lanes of U.S. 31 near Lowell Road. Investigators concluded that Scrogham was going no faster than 70 mph in the 55 mph speed zone when the motorcycle first caught Burch’s attention, according to court records.

A Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputy later found Scrogham, who had been thrown from his motorcycle, in a field off Sunland Road east of Columbus at about 11:43 p.m. Aug. 29.

Scrogham had missed a 90-degree turn and went off the road, striking a telephone pole guide wire that knocked him off the motorcycle, sheriff deputies said. The impact knocked off Scrogham’s helmet, and he died at the scene from head and neck trauma, Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher determined.