Utility worker attacked by LIPA customer upset with Sandy response

Hurricane Sandy worker beaten, hospitalized


A utility worker from Florida was attacked outside a Long Island restaurant after working a 16-hour day by a power customer who was apparently upset with the progress of power restoration in the area, reported.


John Applewhite, 34, who works for a Tampa-area power company, is recovering from a broken jaw. He was on Long Island helping the local utility Long Island Power Authority to restore electricity to the area.

He had gone to a restaurant in East Hempstead on Friday night after working a 16-hour day helping LIPA restore power after Sandy.

Applewhite says a man in a black BMW drove up and asked about the power restoration.

"He gave me no signs of anything aggressive.  He was in a nice vehicle, dressed fairly nice from what I could tell," Applewhite says.


The man jumped out of his car.

"Just as soon as I got within arm's reach of him, he decked me," Applewhite says.

A co-worker rushed to help Applewhite.  That man ended up with a bite wound on his hand from the attacker.

Both out-of-state power workers were treated at Nassau Medical Center before heading back to Florida.

Applewhite has a cracked cheekbone and was to have reconstructive surgery on his face.

"I'm not gonna let it get me down, I enjoy what I do and I'm not gonna let one person spoil that for me, I enjoy helping people out," Applewhite says.

The man jumped back in his car and drove off after the attack. He has not been caught.  Nassau County police are still investigating.

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