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‘I didn’t think I was going to live,’ Midlothian mom says of bear attack

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Posted at 7:12 PM, Aug 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-11 00:44:50-04

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- A Midlothian woman is recovering after being attacked by a bear in state park in the Blue Ridge mountains.

"We both just froze and then the bear starting running," Laurie Cooksey said.

The attack happened Saturday around 5:30 p.m. on the Blue Suck Trail in Douthat State Park in Bath County, Virginia. Cooksey was hiking with her three children, and had just snapped the picture seen below.

Laurie Cooksey took this picture moments before the attack.

Laurie Cooksey took this picture moments before the attack.

"I have to be honest with you I didn't think I was going to live beyond that day," Cooksey said.

Cooksey's injuries include bite marks, bruises, and large scratches from the bear's claws. Cooksey said she required 28 stitches.

Cooksey said the bear attacked her when she was with one of her sons. She was able to kick the bear and escape briefly. At that point, she was able to run to her two other children where they made loud noises to intimidate the bear which reappeared.

Laurie Cooksey shares her account of the bear attack.

Laurie Cooksey shares her account of the bear attack.

"They took their walking sticks and just jumped up and down and yelled as loud as they could," Cooksey said.

On Sunday wildlife officials tracked and killed the bear using saliva on Cooksey's body.

Cooksey said she does not think she did anything wrong. There was no cub nearby, nor was she carrying food.

Laurie Cooksey was attacked several places on her body while hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Laurie Cooksey was attacked several places on her body while hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

"The officer told me, by the way the bear was looking at me, it appeared she was hunting," Cooksey said.

Cooksey believes the hiking mantra "get big and get loud" saved her life, but she said luck played a huge part too.

"I don't have a lesson, I wish I did, you can't be prepared to get attacked by a bear," Cooksey added.