LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A day after he was attacked by a bear in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, a Sierra Madre man recounted the terrifying encounter and his narrow escape from the bear’s clenching jaws.
Dan Richman, speaking with KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen at Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, was confined to a wheelchair with visible wounds on his wrist, back of his head and neck.
Richman, 53, said it all started late Monday morning when he spotted a bear during his jog on a trail about two miles north of the entrance to the Bailey Canyon Wildnerness Park.
“Seeing that bear was unbelievable,” he said.
Fearing for his safety, he tried to run down the trail. At that point he was confronted by a second bear, who charged at him.
The bear grabbed him by the arm and then slashed into his thigh — coming dangerously close to doing major damage, Richman said.
“The plastic surgeon who sewed me up said 1 more millimeter and it would have severed a tendon,” he said.
Richman said he fell to his hands and knees, and the bear climbed top of him with its jaws around his neck.
At that point, Richman’s instincts told him to stay still. That decision may have saved his life.
“I knew that it had me in a position where if I tried to make any fast moves it could finish me off,” he said. “So it was almost like (the bear) was saying, “Are you done? Because if you’re done, I’m done.”
The bear finally let him ago and he was able to walk down the hiking trail to get help from a neighbor.
Richman said he’ll be sure to hike with at least one companion in the future.
Fish and Wildlife said Monday it will try to locate the bear, and if it’s captured it will be destroyed for public safety under department policy.