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.

Comments (5)
  1. Leigh says:

    When we venture into the wild, we must assume the inherent risks. This is not a normally aggressive species, rather, it seems the bear was startled. The bears were 2 miles into the wilderness. They didn’t come down into our neighborhoods and become “nuisance bears.” They were just being bears, in their own habitat. There’s no mention of the hiker carrying bear spray or making noise to alert bears to his presence – smart practices when hiking alone in bear territory. Also turns out he ran, which can trigger an attack.

    And now, when this bear is trapped, per current Department of Fish & Wildlife policy, he will be destroyed, not relocated. Perhaps both bears? We who love these mountains, and their splendid wildlife, should not wish any harm to come to the animals resulting from us recreating in their habitat.

    Those who wish to express their opinion on this policy, I encourage you to write ASAP to the DFW LA/OC District Rangers Office at AskR5@wildlife.ca.gov. They are happy to listen to our input, so let’s please speak up on behalf of our wildlife.

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