An 11-year-old boy was stabbed in the foot by an overly enthusiastic actor in a haunted house.
Frank Bednarski had gone to the 7 Floors of Hell haunted house, in Berea, Ohio, with his sister and family friends on September 18 “with hopes of having some good, scary fun”, according to his mum, Karen.
She told News 5 Cleveland how one of the actors walked up to her son holding a knife, with the intention of scaring him.
“But my son responded to him by saying, ‘that’s fake, I’m not scared‘”, she added.
That’s when the actor, later identified as Christopher Pogozelski, 22, began stabbing the ground with the large Bowie knife, but got too close and stabbed the knife through Frank’s Croc sandal, slicing the side of his big toe.
Bednarski, who was not present at the time, said one of the adults with Frank called her and then she proceeded to call the police.
According to the report, staff at the haunted house applied first aid, but Bednarski claims that staff had initially denied first aid to the boy, claiming they were not certified to administer it.
Officers arrived on the scene and confiscated the actor’s knife, which he admitted to having brought from home and using it instead of the props provided.
Pogozelski acknowledged that “using the knife was not a good idea and that the injury was an accident”, the report states.
Bednarski however is unhappy with the staff’s response who allegedly kept repeating that accidents happen.
“I’m highly upset,” she said. “They just kept saying accidents happen, accidents happen.”
She doesn’t believe the incident was an accident, but Rodney Geffert, president of Night Scream Entertainment, which owns 7 Floors of Hell, argues it was.
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He said: “I guess he got a little too close. It was a complete accident and poked the boy’s toe.”
He added that Pogozelski is a popular actor at other haunted houses in the local area and started working freelance at 7 Floors of Hell last year.
He said his actors are not allowed to touch customers and can only use the rubber props provided by the company, but Pogozelski went back to his car and grabbed the Bowie knife without their knowledge.
“The police took the knife and I made it real clear with him, you don't go to your vehicle and get something out like that. We just don't do that,” said Geffert.
The group continued through the haunted houses that night, but Bednarski and Geffert disagree on the reason why.
Geffert said that the woman asked for a ticket and seemed excited to go into the haunted houses, but she denied that and said the tickets were offered to her because she didn’t want to leave her son, who didn’t want to go to hospital, but instead wanted to continue on with the night.
“I didn't want to make a scene, of course. I wanted to go about it the appropriate way,” said Bednarski.
Police later contacted Bednarski who decided that she would like to pursue charges.
She added: “The biggest thing for me is, you know, I don't understand the mental state of this man.
“There's got to be something wrong with him, and he should not be working at an establishment like that. That's what makes me upset.
Berea Police Department have confirmed that Pogozelski has been charged with negligent assault.
Lt. Tom Walker said: “I can't explain why he brought the real knife. He should have been using a fake prop or rubber knife.
“Obviously a poor decision on his part to bring a real knife to the fairgrounds."
Geffert said he has still not made a decision about whether to keep Pogozelski employed at 7 Floors of Hell.
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