Ex-reserve officer charged in chase, crash that killed motorcyclist

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

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A former reserve officer with the Nashville Police Department has been charged after being involved in a chase and crash that killed an 18-year-old motorcyclist.

Leonard Burch has been charged with reckless driving and false informing following the death of Xavier Scrogham.

Investigators believe that Burch falsely claimed that Scrogham’s motorcycle was doing speeds of more than 100 miles per hour when he encountered him, which is refuted by video evidence and witnesses.

Additionally, Burch lacked police powers while off-duty, according to the Nashville Police Department’s official policy.

A witness said that Scrogham had purchased the motorcycle earlier in the day and had stated his intent to seek out and outrun an officer. The witness said Scrogham’s last words were “drop a gear and watch them disappear.”

The chase began late in the evening on Aug. 29. At the intersection of U.S. 31 and Lowell Road, Burch and Scrogham encountered each other and Scrogham took off quickly at the light. Burch’s communication with 911 dispatchers stated that Scrogham had passed him at 120 miles per hour.

Burch eventually lost sight of the motorcycle. Scrogham’s motorcycle went off of the roadway while on Sunland Road, where he struck a telephone guy-wire and was thrown from the motorcycle.

During an investigation, Burch said his training consisted of a two-week field training program. He said he never received a copy of the department’s policies and was unsure of what they were. The department did not have a record of Burch being provided with a policy booklet. Another reserve officer told investigators that Burch had been present during a training course where officers were told not to act when off-duty with the exception of during extreme emergency situations.

Following the crash, Scrogham’s family filed suit against the city of Nashville.