Florida electric worker helping residents affected by Sandy beaten and brutalized in New York

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Lakeland, FL, United States (4E) – A 34-year-old electric lineman from Lakeland, Florida who travelled to New York to help restore power to an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy, was severely beaten by a stranger Friday night.

According to reports, John Applewhite, a lineman for Lakeland Electric, went to New York with 24 co-workers to assist in repairing the power system and he returned home with a broken jaw, a busted cheekbone and facial fractures.

He was admitted at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center

Applewhite, who suffered severe injuries that he was flown back to Tampa, said he was attacked outside a restaurant in East Hempstead.

The victim recalled a man in a black BMW suddenly screaming at him and meeting him halfway to where the Lakeland Electric truck was parked.

He said the man stepped out “and just as I got within arm’s reach, he decked me.”

“It was tense up there, it really was,” added Applewhite. “But never did we did we have a reason to think anything like this would happen.”

Applewhite revealed he does not know why he was attacked or by whom.

Nobody got the attacker’s license plate because there was no power in the area where the incident happened.

A co-worker, who attempted to stop the man, was bitten in his finger and had to be treated at a hospital.

Applewhite is scheduled for surgery Tuesday morning. Surgeons will place two metal plates into his face and his jaw would be wired shut for more than four weeks.

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