Trial set for officer in fatal chase

Maximum penalty for pair of misdemeanor charges would be 240 days in jail

A trial date has been set for a former reserve Nashville police officer charged with two misdemeanors in a police pursuit of a motorcyclist.

Leonard Burch, 25, whose address is listed as Pearl Street in Columbus, is scheduled for a bench trial Feb. 22 in Bartholomew Superior Court 2. He 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 appeared before Magistrate Joseph Meek at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, when he told Meek he was in the process of hiring an attorney.

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.

Scrogham’s body was found in a field off Sunland Road in eastern Bartholomew County by a sheriff’s deputy who was not involved in the chase.

Attending the pre-trial hearing were Carleen Scrogham, Xavier Scogham’s mother, and Hannah Scrogham, his sister. After the hearing, they left without comment.

The maximum penalty Burch could receive if convicted of both misdemeanors, and the sentences were to be served consecutively, would be 240 days in the Bartholomew County Jail and a $1,500 fine.

Meek ordered Burch to appear for a 3 p.m. pre-trial hearing Jan. 25 in addition to the Feb. 22 bench trial in Superior Court 2.

What's next

A pre-trial hearing for Leonard Burch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 25 in Bartholomew Superior Court 2. A bench trial has been set in that court for Feb. 22.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.