MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WRIC) — A Midlothian woman is counting her blessings after surviving a weekend bear attack at Douthat Park in Bath County.
Laurie Cooksey was hiking with three of her kids, when they spotted the bear just a few yards away.
“Next thing I know he jumps on my back, so I got a big deep wound where he caught me here underneath my arm,” explains Cooksey. “That made me go down and I went down on my back, the bear went down.”
Cooksey says then the bear bit her in the leg, leaving deep puncture wounds that ultimately needed fourteen stitches.
She fought back.
“We were on a steep incline and he was up and I kind of hit and kicked at the same time and he tumbled back and when he tumbled back, that was enough time for me to race up the incline back up to the trail,” recalls Cooksey.
The mother of four found her kids who shouted and jumped up and down with walking sticks to scare the bear away.
Cooksey’s walking gingerly these days after getting a total of twenty-eight stitches, but she’s laughing through the pain, thanks to friends dropping off thoughtful gifts like bear claws and beer.
Cooksey insists, “I’ve got some stitches and I’m really sore, but we’re all good. We packed up the tent and I’m not camping again. I’m not hiking in the mountains again.”
State wildlife officials tracked down and humanely killed the bear they believe attacked.
They emphasize incidents like this are very rare.