Utility worker attacked on Long Island - New York News

Utility worker attacked on Long Island

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Police have made an arrest in an attack on a utility worker from Florida on Long Island.

While it was originally reported that the man was attacked by an angry power customer, police say that is not the case.

John Applewhite, 34, is recovering from a broken jaw.  The Tampa-area man works for Lakeland Electric.   He was on Long Island helping to restore power.

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 then 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.

Nassau County police say that's not exactly what happened.  They announced the arrest of Thomas Libretto, 34, of Levittown in connection with the attack.

Nassau County police say the dispute that ended in the attack began when Applewhite started urinating near Libretto's car, according to a report in Newsday.

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