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Former reserve officer charged with reckless driving, false information, seeks jury trial

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) —  A former reserve officer with the Nashville Police Department charged with two misdemeanors related to involvement in a chase and crash that killed an 18-year-old motorcyclist has plans to request a jury trial.

According to our partners at the Brown County Democrat, Leonard Burch, 25, of Columbus, appeared in a pretrial hearing on Jan. 25 at Bartholomew Superior Court 2, to face misdemeanor charges of false informing and reckless driving.

A Bartholomew County Sheriff’s deputy found Xavier Scrogham, 18, who was thrown from his motorcycle, in a field off Sunland Road just before midnight on Aug. 29, 2016. Deputies say 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. Scrogham died at the scene from head and neck trauma.

Documents accuse Burch of speaking to a 911 dispatcher and falsely claiming the motorcycle had passed his police car going 120 mph before he began his high-speed pursuit on U.S. 31. Investigators have determined Scrogham was going no faster than 70 mph in the 55 mph speed zone.

Prior to the hearing, Burch could be seen laughing with a group of people. In the visitors’ seats at the back, a member of this group took a cellphone photo and joked about sending the photo to an Indianapolis news station.

Carleen Scrogham, mother of Xavier Scrogham, and her daughter, Hannah Scrogham, sat nearby in a back row of the opposite set of visitor seats as the jokes were made.

“It’s a joke to him,” Carleen Scrogham said following the hearing.

Xavier’s mother said common sense should have kept Burch from chasing the motorcycle at high rates of speed in a reckless manner.

“It’s my prayer that every time he closes his eyes, my son’s face torments him,” Carleen Scrogham said.

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