Nashville reserve police officer under investigation after August vehicle pursuit

Former Nashville Police Department reserve officer Leonard Burch and Xavier Scrogham. (Photo Courtesy: The Republic)
Former Nashville Police Department reserve officer Leonard Burch and Xavier Scrogham. (Photo Courtesy: The Republic)

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – A Nashville Reserve Police Office is under investigation after an August vehicle pursuit.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the pursuit occurred around 11:30 p.m. on August 29.   A Nashville Reserve Police Office, Leonard Burch, was in pursuit of a motorcycle that was traveling at a high rate of speed.

Deputies said the pursuit topped 100 mph and went south along U.S. 31 to east on Base Line Road and then north on County Road 65 East.

Near County Road 650 East and 25th Street, the Nashville Police Officer told the Emergency Operation Center that he had lost sight of the sight of the motorcyclist, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy, who was not involved in the pursuit, then arrived to help in the search for the motorcyclist. A single tire track leading into a field was then found.  A deceased male, Xavier Scrogham, and a motorcycle were also discovered in the field.

Dash cam video released from the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office showing pursuit of 18-year-old Xavier Scrogham on August 29th, 2016 minutes before his death. (Courtesy: Bartholomew County Sheriff's Office)
Dash cam video released from the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office shows the pursuit of 18-year-old Xavier Scrogham on August 29th, 2016 minutes before his death. (Courtesy: Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office)

An investigation into the fatal, single-vehicle accident then began.  Also, at the time of the crash, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office said there was no indication that Burch did anything inappropriately during the attempted initial stop or the subsequent pursuit. However, Burch was put on administrative leave and has since resigned from his position as a reserve officer. He was just hired in April.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, on September 2, the Nashville Police Chief Ben Seastrom and Assistant Chief Tim True met with a detective Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office to request a criminal investigation into Officer Burch’s actions. According to a release, they provided new information to the sheriff’s office, but it is unclear what that new information was.

The sheriff’s office has now obtained dash cam video from the vehicle Burch was driving. Detectives had to provide a search warrant to the manufacturer of the dash camera in order to receive the video.

Bartholomew County detectives hope to hand the investigation over to the prosecutor’s office by the middle of next week.

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