A Lakeland man managed to save his own life by crawling to safety after getting severely gored by a bull.
"I'll tell you what he is one tough cowboy," Scott Wilder, a spokesman for the Polk County Sheriff's Office said. "He was really very severely injured."
On Wednesday night, Junior Bessinger, was working at the Cattlemen's Livestock Auction at 3305 U.S. 92 in Lakeland. The 61-year-old was corralling a couple of bulls into a chute so they could be loaded onto a truck when one of them suddenly turned. Bessinger was gored multiple times in the chest and back and also stomped on.
According to the Sheriff's Office, he suffered a collapsed lung and a broken clavicle.
"If he was unable to get himself help, he would not be with us today. So he literally saved his own life," Wilder said.
According to Wilder, Bessinger crawled approximately 75 feet through a narrow opening in the pen to the nearest phone in the auction's office where he called for help.
"It's a remarkable survival story," he said.
But to those who know him best, his family, that's just dad.
"He's stubborn," David Bessinger, the victim's son said. "If he doesn't want it to take him out, it ain't gonna take him out."
Bessinger remains in critical, but stable, condition at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. As of Friday evening, he was awake, alert and improving.