CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - From the looks of their photos, the trip to Douthat State Park was a great one for the Cooksey family. And indeed it was, at least until their final hike on Saturday morning near Tusacora Overlook.
"We turned and and my son Ellis looked to the left and said, 'Oh my God, there is a bear,'" recalls Laurie Cooksey.
Laurie says she and her son froze... and so did the bear, but only momentarily. Then it began chasing after them!
The group scattered and the bear wound up running after just Laurie. It swiped at her back and shoulders, and then knocked her down.
But the animal didn't stop there. It bit into her right leg, near the knee.
"It grabbed me here [by the knee] and basically took my leg, and shook it," says Laurie. "But he was up doing it, enough so that when I hit him -- I kind of hit him and kicked him at the same time -- and his balance, because we were on such a steep incline, rolled him backwards."
It gave her the time she needed to run. The bear reappeared one more time, so her sons scared the bear away by screaming at it, while jumping up and down.
That's what the Department of Conservation says is exactly what you should do in a situation like this: make noise, show no fear or intimidation, and do not run.
Laurie says it was her very first camping trip and needless to say... it will be her last.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says a bear believed to be responsible for the attack was humanely killed early Sunday morning.
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