Society

Vietnam Veteran Fights Off Bear Attack, Drives Himself To The Hospital

| by Brendan Kelly

A Vietnam Marine Corps veteran was reportedly attacked by a bear outside of his California home on Aug. 13. With some help from his dog, he fought off the 250-pound black bear with his bare hands.

Larry Yepez, 66, stepped outside of his Mariposa County home, near Yosemite National Park, and spotted the black bear about 10 feet away. Yepez started yelling at the bear to "get away" but it continued toward him.

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The bear then jumped on him and knocked him over.

Yepez said he could hear his bones crunch as the bear bit down on his wrist. The animal also ripped into his neck and stomach with its claws.

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His military instincts then kicked in and he says he knew he had to fight back. He began punching the bear and managed to push it away with his legs. Just then, his dog distracted the bear long enough for them both to get back inside the house. 

The bear took off.

Despite serious injuries to his face, neck, wrist and stomach, Yepez got in his car and drove himself to the nearest hospital.

Yepez said employees of the hospital were taken aback when he walked through the doors.

"When I walked in, I was just covered in blood," he said. "And they go, 'Oh my God. What happened to you?' And I said, 'I just got attacked by a bear.'" 

These aren't Yepez's first serious injuries. When he served in the Vietnam War, he suffered multiple injuries, including gunshot wounds to the wrist and foot. He earned a Purple Heart in Vietnam.

Mariposa County police are searching for the bear that attacked Yepez and have issued warnings to residents to be alert and keep an eye on pets and children.

When the bear is found, officials plan to euthanize it.

Sources: CNN, Breitbart, Youtube / Photo credit: Screenshot via CNN