Fla. Utility Worker Assaulted Amid LIPA Blackouts

A utility worker from Florida assaulted while  taking a break from repairing post-hurricane blackouts on Long Island over the weekend has reportedly been transferred to a hospital in Tampa.

John Applewhite, a 34-year-old lineman with Lakeland Electric, was leaving Texas Roadhouse on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow after finishing a shift with coworkers on Friday night when a man began to yell at them, The Lakeland Ledger reported.

“I thought he may have been asking about his power,” Applewhite told the newspaper, calling the suspect a “bad apple.”


That’s when the man attacked the victim. He is being treated for a broken jaw, cheekbone and other bones in his face. The suspect fled the scene in a BMW after biting one of Applewhite’s colleagues who tried to intervene.

Nassau County police issued a news release about a man being punched in the face at the same time and place but did not release the victim’s name or occupation. A police spokesman said there have been no arrests as of Tuesday night.

Lakeland Electric sent a crew of two dozen to assist more than 15,000 utility workers helping the Long Island Power Authority restoring electricity after most of LI lost power in Superstorm Sandy.

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