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66-Year Old Man Fights Off Bear And Drives Himself To The Hospital

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A 66-year old man who was attacked by a hungry black bear was able to fight the animal off—with help from his tiny Yorkie—and drove himself to the hospital.

Larry Yepez was on the porch of his home in Midpines, on the edge of Yosemite National Park, early Wednesday around 4 p.m., when the black bear attacked him. The bear got on top of the Vietnam vet and left puncture wounds and cuts all over his body, including his face and neck. "It was terrifying," he told ABC 30. "I really didn't know if i was going to make it out or not. He was on top of me."

However, Yepez was able to fight the bear off and make it back inside his home. He says he got a helping hand from his best friend: his Yorkshire terrier, Benji. "He was barking, he kept him distracted," Yepez told ABC 30. "The bear turned around to see Benji—that's when I jumped up."

Yepez managed to drive himself to the hospital, covered in blood, and was released a few hours later.

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“Mr. Yepez is a very tough individual,” Mariposa County game warden Frank Milazzo told Merced Sun-Star. “He is a Vietnam veteran and is used to defending himself in situations. He did an amazing job of survival. It could have turned out a lot worse.”

According to California Department of Fish & Wildlife, the drought has made natural sources of food harder to come by, and the bear that attacked Yepez was feeding on a bag of trash near his house. "Bear attacks on humans are very uncommon," CDFW Lieutenant Chris Stoots told the L.A. Times, but because of the vicious nature of this attack, the bear would be euthanized if caught.

Not one to be modest, Yepez, who is Native American, has christened himself "Man Who Fights With Bears, And Wins."