A lineman from central Florida who was volunteering in Long Island to help restore power in the storm-ravaged area was viciously attacked by a stranger who was apparently furious that there was still no power in the region.
John Applewhite, 34, had travelled to East Hempstead, Long Island from his home in Lakeland with 24 other electrical workers, and had just finished a 16-hour shift when a man yelled at him from across a parking lot.
Mr Applewhite said that the suspect got out of his black BMW, walked toward him, and punched him once in the face, breaking his jaw and fracturing several other bones in his face.
The electrical worker said that he had just finished a gruelling shift helping out the Long Island Power Authority and was heading to dinner at the Texas Roadhouse when a man in a BMW across the parking lot began yelling at him.
Thinking the man had a question about power restoration, Mr Applewhite headed in the direction of the man, while Mr Barefoot stayed by the service vehicle.
‘Just as I got within arm’s reach, he decked me,’ Mr Applewhite told WTSP. The single punch broke his jaw, his cheekbone, and other facial bones. He also suffered a black eye.
When Mr Barefoot tried to intervene, the suspect allegedly bit him on the finger and then ran back to his BMW, driving away.
Mr Applewhite was rushed to Nassau Medical Center, but he was eventually flown back to Tampa.
The lineman said that his law has to be wired shut, and he faces reconstructive surgery to repair the broken bones in his face.
A photograph following the attack shows the lineman’s face badly swollen on the left side.
Despite the brutality of the attack, Mr Applewhite said that he still holds a good impression of the town, according to ABC Action News.
‘It was one heck of a punch,’ he told the station. ‘If nothing else, I would like to shake the guy’s hand. He got a heck of a jab.’
Mr Applewhite’s sister, Mary Anne, told WTSP that she is saddened by the attack. ‘John is such a sweet person and he certainly didn’t deserve this,’ she said, noting the difficulty her brother will face during the upcoming holidays.
But his father, Morris Applewhite, had a more practical solution. ‘If he has his jaw wired shut, we will just feed him through a straw, and he’ll enjoy it,’ he said.
Nassau County police have not yet named a suspect in a case, but are reviewing surveillance video from the parking lot.
Parts of Long Island were hard-hit by last month’s Superstorm Sandy, flooding homes, and leaving thousands without heat and power.
Disaster relief organizations like FEMA and the National Guard have been sent in, but many in the hardest-hit areas remain without power.
Volunteer workers like Mr Applewhite have been working with LIPA to help customers still stuck in the dark.
Source: The Daily Mail