Police: Man stole tow truck after assaulting girlfriend, driver


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Coventry man is facing charges out of three states after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend on the side of the road, assaulted a woman who pulled over to intervene, then drove off in her tow truck and led police on a lengthy chase.

Dante Gallo, 19, was arraigned Monday on the charges from Rhode Island State Police, which include felony counts of robbery of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

State police said it all started with a fight between Gallo and his girlfriend at the drive-in movie theater in North Smithfield. The girl, whom police referred to as an “adult teenager,” told investigators Gallo hit her in the face multiple times and tried to throw her from their vehicle while exiting the parking lot.

Just before 1 a.m. Monday, troopers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance on the side of I-295 in the area of Exit 15, according to police. Gallo reportedly continued assaulting his girlfriend outside the vehicle and when a tow truck driver stopped to help, police said Gallo struck the 35-year-old woman in the face multiple times then got into her truck and took off.

Police arrived on scene a short time later and began pursuing Gallo, who they said traveled up I-295 to Route 146, then headed west on the Mass. Pike, south on I-84 into Connecticut, and back into Rhode Island via Route 44.

Video Now: Gallo in court (audio recording not allowed)

Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut State Police all followed Gallo in their respective jurisdictions, saying he refused to stop and at one point hit a Connecticut police cruiser.

Police said Gallo ditched the tow truck on Rollingwood Drive in Johnston and was picked up by a friend. He was arrested a short time later after police found him in the friend’s vehicle outside a gas station on Plainfield Pike.

In addition to the felony charges, Gallo was arraigned Monday on misdemeanor counts of simple assault, domestic assault, domestic disorderly conduct, and eluding police. He was ordered to have no contact with the victims and his bail was set at $20,000, though he was later ordered held as a probation violator.

Court records show Gallo previously pleaded no contest to assault charges in June 2018.

Gallo’s mother was in court Monday but she declined to comment on the matter.

Both Massachusetts and Connecticut have charges pending against Gallo, according to R.I. State Police.

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