M’TOWN MAN INDICTED IN ALLEGED RAMPAGE

By JOHN T. WARD

A Middletown man has been indicted by a Monmouth County grand jury for a multi-town rampage in which he’s alleged to have smashed his car into one occupied by his former girlfriend and their infant daughter, and for violent assaults on two cops who attempted to arrest him.

Gregory Canova, 38, faces 25 charges including arising from a series of incidents that began with him trying to choke his girlfriend in a motel room; continued with him running her car off the road with their one-year-old daughter aboard; getting into a violent struggle with a Middletown oficer; dragging the cop with his car; smashing his vehicle head-on into a moving police car; and a car chase, according to an announcement Wednesday by the Monmouth County Prosecutor.

Here’s the full text of the anouncement:

A Monmouth County Grand Jury returned a 25-count Indictment today charging Gregory B. Canova with several criminal offenses arising from Canova’s multiple assaults of his former girlfriend and daughter and, thereafter, two Middletown police officers, Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced. Canova is currently lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution where he remains detained in lieu of bail set at $882,500 cash only.

The charges against Canova, 38, of Middletown, stem from incidents that occurred on March 25 after Sea Girt Police officers were dispatched in response to a “911” call originating from the intersection of State Highway 71 and Boston Boulevard. Responding police determined that a car traveling southbound on Highway 71, operated by a 27 year-old female, had been intentionally struck by another car. The woman identified Canova as the operator of the car, a former boyfriend and the father of her one-year old daughter.

Further investigation revealed that, earlier that same morning, the same woman had been 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 from the motel room with her daughter and attempted to drive away from Canova.

Thereafter, Canova began to chase the woman in his car and, on Highway 71 in Sea Girt, 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 motorists stopped to assist the woman while Canova fled the scene. Neither the woman nor her daughter, who was strapped in a child seat in the backseat of the car, was injured as a result of the crash.

Sea Girt police notified surrounding towns to be on the lookout for Canova’s car and, later that morning, a Middletown Township police officer spotted Canova’s car in the driveway of his residence. That officer attempted to arrest Canova after seeing him exit his car, but Canova responded by engaging him in a violent struggle. When the officer tried to stop Canova from driving away, Canova struck the officer with his car and dragged him several feet. When the officer was able to free himself from the car, Canova fled from the area.

A Middletown police officer responding as backup spotted Canova driving recklessly from the area where the first officer had attempted to arrest him. This second officer attempted to stop Canova’s car, but Canova fled from the officer into another Middletown neighborhood. Canova then made a U-turn and drove head-on at the pursuing officer, colliding with the front of the officer’s car. Once again, Canova fled in his car while the officer and another responding officer continued to pursue him. Ultimately, Canova turned onto a dead-end street, drove up onto the curb in an attempt to turn around, and became stuck on the curb and front lawn of one of the houses on the street. As the two officers tried to pull Canova from his car, he continued to violently struggle with them but was ultimately placed under arrest. Once the officers placed him in the back of a patrol car, Canova kicked out the window of the car.

The first officer struck by Canova was transported to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank and treated for leg and hand injuries. The second officer struck by Canova was also transported to Riverview Medical Center and treated for back, leg, and knee injuries. Although Canova did not complain of any injuries related to the chase, he was also transported to Riverview Medical Center for treatment.

Canova was indicted on the following charges and faces terms of imprisonment on each count, as follows:
4 counts of second-degree aggravated assault (up to 10 years’ imprisonment);
2 counts of second-degree aggravated assault while eluding (up to 10 years’ imprisonment);
2 counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child (up to 10 years’ imprisonment);
1 count of second-degree eluding (up to 10 years’ imprisonment);
5 counts of third-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (5 years’ imprisonment);
4 counts of third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (5 years’
imprisonment);
2 counts of third-degree resisting arrest (5 years’ imprisonment);
3 counts of fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (18 months’ imprisonment);
1 count of fourth-degree assault by auto (18 months’ imprisonment); and
1 count of contempt (18 months’ imprisonment).

The crimes of second-degree aggravated assault and second-degree aggravated assault while eluding are both subject to the “No Early Release Act,” which requires that a defendant serve 85% of any sentence imposed before becoming eligible for parole.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty by a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Matthew Bogner is prosecuting the case for the State. Canova is represented by Sarah Surgent, Esq., of Freehold.