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Man recalls Lollapalooza 'zombie' bite, worries about HIV, hepatitis

Ben Lenet hasn't missed Lollapalooza since 2008, but he's wondering whether he'll ever return after a "zombie"-like attack left a sizeable bite wound on his right arm.

Lenet, 29, of Wicker Park, said he and two friends were watching Arctic Monkeys around 9:45 p.m. Friday on the north side of Grant Park when a man he did not know approached his friend and tackled him to the ground. In the subsequent scuffle, which Lenet said lasted about 20 seconds, the man sank his teeth into Lenet’s arm and didn’t let go.

"He turns around and clamps his teeth into my left forearm," he said, adding his two friends repeatedly struck the man to make him let go. "He's fully clamped, he's coming at me. He's ripping at me, he was trying to bite through my arm."

Lenet said one of his friends struck the man again in the face one last time, and the man let go and walked away.

"The dude just got up, like nothing happened, and just left," he said.

Lenet said he then flagged down two officers on the scene, quickly gave a description and sprinted to the medical tent. He was transported to Presence Saint Joseph Hospital and released later in the evening, requiring antibiotics and a tetanus shot, as well as a preventive cocktail of drugs for HIV. He said he will have to be tested for the disease in 30 days.

A Chicago Police Department spokeswoman on Tuesday confirmed Lenet’s account of the events, citing a police report, and said no one is currently in custody.

Lenet posted photos of his injuries to Reddit late Monday in hopes of getting witnesses to the incident.

"I only posted it so it might lead to something," he said of sharing his story. "I wasn’t looking to show off my nasty wounds. I am assuming a guy that does this doesn't do it in a bubble. I'm sure he didn’t go to McDonald's and call it a night. I don’t want him to do this to anyone else."

Quipping that he has yet to have cravings for human brains, Lenet even likened the event to a sort of "zombie" attack in his Reddit post.

"It really only occurred to me later, the amount of beating he sustained was pretty massive. For him to be able to walk around is astounding," he said of his attacker. "The cops said later they usually don’t hear that unless the person is on PCP or bath salts."

Lenet said while he has insurance, he believes it was an "expensive" night at Lollapalooza, and the incident has left him shaken.

"There’s some anxiety," he said. "I know the odds are pretty small, maybe in four months this will just be a funny story, and I’ll have a scar to show. But when a doctor sits you down and says, 'We need to talk about your exposure to HIV and hepatitis,' you’re not going to sleep so great."

He said he’s rethinking ever attending a large fest again.

"It was a pretty traumatic event,” he said. "It will make me re-evaluate going to large, unsecured shows like that in the future."

Elsewhere, police said 34 arrests were made for various crimes throughout the three-day festival. 

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Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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