An actor at an Ohio haunted house accidentally stabbed an 11-year-old boy in the foot while attempting to scare him.
The actor, 22-year-old Christopher Pogozelski, had allegedly gone to his car and grabbed a real bowie knife instead of using one of the prop weapons that were provided.
The incident took place in the popular 7 Floors of Hell Haunted House at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
Pogozelski was playing the part of a roaming scare actor outside the haunted attraction and was dragging the large knife along the ground to spook people before they entered.
Karen Bednarski says her 11-year-old son Frank was stabbed in the toe after her child told the actor that he was not afraid.
“He walked up to my son and he was holding the knife and his intentions were to scare him, but my son responded to him by saying, ‘That’s fake. I’m not scared,’” Bednarski told News 5 Cleveland.
Bednarski said that the actor began stabbing the knife into the ground near her child’s foot, but ended up piercing through his Croc shoe and slicing the side of his big toe.
The mother said that she is “highly upset” — not only with the incident, but also with how the staff handled the situation.
“They just kept saying accidents happen, accidents happen,” said Bednarski, adding that they originally denied him first aid. “They told me that they were not certified to administer first aid.”
Bednarski called the police who seized the knife from Pogozelski. According to the police report, he admitted to the police that “using the knife was not a good idea and that the injury was an accident.”
The mother says that she does not believe it was an accident.
Rodney Geffert, the president of Night Scream Entertainment, which owns 7 Floors of Hell, maintains that it was.
“I guess he got a little too close. It was a complete accident and poked the boy’s toe,” Geffert told News 5. He has defended Pogozelski as a popular actor at other haunted attractions in the area and said that their policy is to only use the rubber props they provide.
“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.
Though Bednarski called the police and says she plans to pursue charges of negligent assault — the group, including her son, made their way through the haunted house after the incident.
“I didn’t want to make a scene, of course. I wanted to go about it the appropriate way,” said Bednarski. “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.”
The Berea Police Department told News 5 that Pogozelski has been charged.
“I can’t explain why he brought the real knife,” Walker said. “He should have been using a fake prop or rubber, rubber knife. Obviously a poor decision on his part to bring a real knife to the fairgrounds. And he’s been criminally charged with negligent assault as a result of making that decision.”
Geffert has not yet made a decision about whether or not he will be firing Pogozelski.
Timcast has reached out to 7 Floors of Hell Haunted House for comment and will update this story if one is provided.