Arrest in Florida lineman's Long Island beating - FOX 13 News

Arrest in Florida lineman's Long Island beating

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John Applewhite suffered a broken jaw and cracked cheekbone. John Applewhite suffered a broken jaw and cracked cheekbone.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Police in New York have made an arrest in connection with the beating of a Polk County lineman, but according to reports, their suspect says he's the real victim.

John Applewhite of Lakeland was a member of a Lakeland Electric crew that headed up to Long Island to help restore power after Hurricane Sandy. He told police he was attacked outside a restaurant in Hempstead by a man in a black BMW last Friday.

From his hospital bed in Lakeland, he told FOX 13 that he had no warning of the assault.

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

The New York Post now reports that Thomas Libretto of nearby Levittown was charged with third-degree assault by Nassau County police in connection with the attack. But Libretto's story is different from Applewhite's.

According to the newspaper, Libretto, 34, told police that he and his girlfriend came upon Applewhite urinating in the steakhouse's parking lot. Libretto says he made a comment to Applewhite, who kicked Libretto's car, prompting a scuffle, the report says.

Libretto said that Applewhite's lineman friends came to his defense and left him injured, but the Post article did not elaborate. He was ordered to appear court next week.

Applewhite, meanwhile, suffered a broken jaw and cheekbone and was still hospitalized as of Tuesday.  He also said one of his coworkers was bitten in the scuffle.

Applewhite's father told FOX 13 on Wednesday that the family is sticking by Applewhite's version of the fight.

Read the NY Post story: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/with_busted_sandy_beating_recovery_CDNGj7looKm18OnWkIZu5N

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