A Middletown man who choked a former girlfriend with a belt and a cell phone charger in front of the couple’s infant daughter before hitting and dragging a police officer with his car was indicted on a slew of assault charges by a grand jury Wednesday, authorities said.
A grand jury on Wednesday handed up a 25-count indictment against Gregory B. Canova, 38, for a March 25 incident that began in Wall Township and ended in Middletown involving multiple violent assaults against his girlfriend, the couple’s 1-year-old daughter and police officers trying to arrest him, according to a release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Canova, who is at the Monmouth County jail, Freehold Township, in lieu of $882,500 cash-only bail, faces:
- four counts of second-degree aggravated assault
- two counts of second-degree aggravated assault while eluding
- two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child
- one count of second-degree eluding
- five counts of third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- four counts of third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose
- two counts of third-degree resisting arrest
- three counts of fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon
- one count of fourth-degree assault by auto and one count of contempt
Combined, the charges carry a maximum sentence of 59 years and 6 months in prison.
Police responded to a 9-1-1 call on March 25 at the intersection of Boston Boulevard and Route 71 in Sea Girt. Officers on the scene determined that a car operated by a 27-year-old woman and traveling southbound on Route 71 was intentionally struck by another car. The woman identified Canova — a former boyfriend and father of her daughter who was in the car at the time of the collision —as the driver of the other car.
Earlier that day, the woman — who was not identified by authorities — was at a motel in Wall Township with Canova when he wrapped a belt and a phone charger cord around her neck and choked her in front of their daughter. The woman was able to flee with her daughter drove away. Canova chased after her, the release says.
He drove next to the passenger side of the woman’s car and slammed into it, causing the woman’s car to spin out. Passing drivers stopped to help. Canova fled. Neither the woman nor her daughter, who was strapped into a child seat in the back of the car, was injured in the crash, the release says.
Sea Girt police notified surrounding towns to be on the lookout for Canova’s car. A Middletown police officer later that day spotted Canova’s car in the driveway of his home, the release says.
The officer tried to arrest Canova, who fought, got in his car and struck the officer, dragging him several feet. The officer was able to free himself and Canova fled, the release says.
Another Middletown officer spotted Canova’s car and tried to pull him over. Canova again fled and drove into a neighborhood, made a U-turn and drove head-on at the officer, crashing into the patrol car, according to the release.
Canova backed up and fled in the car, with two Middletown officers pursuing, the release says.
Canova turned onto a dead-end street, drove onto a curb in an attempt to turn around, and got stuck in the front lawn of a home. Two officers tried to pull him from his car, Canova violently struggled, but was ultimately placed under arrest and put in the back of a patrol car. Canova then kicked out one of the windows of the car, the release says.
The first officer hit by Canova was taken to Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank, and treated for leg and hand injuries. The second officer Canova hit was also taken to Riverview and treated for back, leg, and knee injuries, the release says.
Although Canova did not complain of any injuries related to the chase, he was also transported to Riverview for treatment, according to the release.