Injured Cocoa officer returns to force following hit-and-run crash

'It's a dangerous job and I love it,' officer says

COCOA, Fla. – The last time Cocoa Officer Rickford Leitch rode his police motorcycle, he crashed into a car that pulled out in front of him and flew over it.

Eight months later, Leitch said he's ready to hop back on a bike. The Cocoa police officer returned to patrol duty this week and is waiting for the department to issue him a new motorcycle later this month, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

“I walked away from the crash and that’s the most important thing,” Leitch said. “I’ve always been focused on recovering wholly, not having the fear of getting back on the motor, not having the fear of doing this job. It’s a dangerous job and I love it.”

Leitch suffered serious injuries to both of his hands, police spokeswoman Yvonne Martinez said. He spent a week at a hospital undergoing surgeries, then several months of physical therapy to regain use of his hands, Martinez said.

Leitch, who is a traffic homicide investigator, returned to work two months ago, performing light duty in the records division and other areas until he was medically cleared to return to full duty, Martinez said.

On April 30, Leitch was participating in a police escort for the Traveling Vietnam Wall along southbound U.S. 1 and Rosa L. Jones Drive in Rockledge. He was riding his department motorcycle about 50 mph when a southbound Jeep Cherokee darted into his path.

Leitch, during an interview in May, said he couldn't prevent his motorcycle from crashing into the Jeep, but he leaped from the bike to avoid hitting it himself. Leitch flipped several times in the air, struck his helmet on the windshield of the Jeep and landed on his chest, he said.

The Jeep driver, Norman Scott, 25, of Cocoa, fled from the scene. Rockledge police apprehended him a few days later and charged Scott with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident causing bodily injury and driving while his license was suspended.

Scott remained at the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes on Thursday in lieu of $76,000 bail.