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