Woman tossed violently around by South Dakota buffalo survives

The Custer County sheriff emphasized that visitors should stay in or on their vehicles and keep a safe distance from the buffalo.

South Dakota Department of Tourism

CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. — A 54-year-old Iowa woman who was joining a group of Sturgis Rally motorcyclists looking at a herd of buffalo in Custer State Park was tossed violently around in circles by a bison, but somehow escaped serious injury.

Custer County Sheriff Marty Mechaley said in a statement Thursday, Aug. 12, that eyewitnesses reported the bison charged the woman on Wednesday night after she was attempting to approach a bison calf.

The bison caught her belt and jeans on its horn and swung her around violently, the sheriff said.

She was apparently saved when her pants came off and she fell to the ground unconscious.

The sheriff said at that point the attacking animal ran off along with the rest of the herd.


The woman was taken by Black Hills Life Flight to a Rapid City hospital, where doctors determined she "somehow escaped serious injury in the incident," he said.

The incident occurred about 6:40 p.m. in the park, a popular spot for visitors to the rally to visit.

Mechaley emphasized that visitors should stay in or on their vehicles and keep a safe distance from the buffalo, as he had warned earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, in a daily report Thursday from the rally, it was reported that there have only been two fatalities so far as the rally reaches its halfway point.

The fatal crash occurred earlier in the week about 3 miles west of Sturgis when the driver of a Harley Davidson crossed the center line on a curve and collided with two motorcycles. The 22-year-old driver of the motorcycle that swerved into the other lane was airlifted to a Rapid City hospital where he later died. A 55-year-old man driving an Indian motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene.

The third motorcyclist, driving a 2005 Harley, had serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

Meanwhile, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety reported that DUI arrests were down this year so far from 115 last year to 100, but drug arrests were up from 231 last year to 258 this year.

There have been 39 injury accidents so far, compared to 35 last year.


Video contains profanity:

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. 701-451-5665
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