BEREA, Ohio — The blood, knives, and spooky monsters are fake at haunted houses, but the frightful fun became all too real for one Brook Park family after one of the actors got a little too into character at a haunted house in Berea, Ohio, last weekend.
The report says that officers from Berea were called to 7 Floors of Hell at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Saturday around 8:15 p.m. for a call about a man being stabbed in the foot.
Officers spoke with staff and discovered that an 11-year old boy was accompanied by a friend who had suffered a cut to his left big toe.
Witnesses claimed that one the roaming actors from the haunted home was using a large bowie blade as a prop to scare the people.
They said the 22-year-old actor, identified as Christopher Pogozelski, was scraping the knife on the ground in front of them, then began stabbing the ground at the boy’s feet when it went through his Croc-style shoe cut his left foot.
Karen Bednarski said that Frank, her 11-year-old son, told WEWS.
She stated that he went to 7 Floors of Hell with his sister and friends in the hopes of having some frightening fun.
However, she claims things got even more scary after they met one of the actors outside.
“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,’” said Bednarski.
Bednarski stated that Pogozelski started to stab Frank with a large bowie blade but got too close and then stabbed Frank’s Croc sandal. He also sliced the side of Frank’s big toe.
Bednarski claimed that Frank called her, and she then called police.
“I’m highly upset,” said Bednarski.
But she wasn’t just upset about the cut on Frank’s toe. It’s how she said the staff responded afterward.
“They just kept saying accidents happen, accidents happen,” said Bednarski.
According to the report, staff from the haunted house administered first aid to the injured toe. Bednarski claims that staff initially denied first-aid.
Bednarski said, “They told me they weren’t certified to administer first aid.”
The actor claimed that he brought the knife home and was using it to replace the prop knives. Officers took the knife from him.
He admitted to officers that “using the knife was not a good idea and that the injury was an accident,” the report states. The knife was taken from him and confiscated.
Bednarski doesn’t believe it was an accident, but Rodney Geffert, the president of Night Scream Entertainment, which owns 7 Floors of Hell, said it was.
“I guess he got a little too close. It was a complete accident and poked the boy’s toe,” said Geffert.
Geffert said Pogozelski is a popular actor at other haunted houses in the area…and started working freelance at 7 Floors of Hell last year.
His actors are forbidden from touching customers. They can only use the rubber props provided to them by the company. But Pogozelski went back into his car that night, and he grabbed the bowie knives that night.
“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.
Geffert and Bednarski differ on the reasons for this group continuing through the haunted house.
Geffert claimed that Bednarski requested a ticket because he seemed eager to enter the haunted house.
Still, she denied that and said they were offered to her because she didn’t want to leave her son, who didn’t want to go to a hospital for further medical treatment and wanted to continue with the night.
“I didn’t want to make a scene, of course. I wanted to go about it the appropriate way,” said Bednarski.
Officers were informed that Pogozelski’s mother requested the knife back. However, dispatch told her that she would send dispatch to inform Pogozelski that the blade would remain on police property in the event of a criminal case and would be released at a later time.
Later, police contacted Bednarski who agreed to press charges. She was advised by police to go to the station and sign the negligent assault charge. Pogozelski received a summons.
“The biggest thing for me is, you know, I don’t understand the mental state of this man,” said Bednarski. “There’s got to be something wrong with him, and he should not be working at an establishment like that. Bednarski stated, “That’s what makes my upset.”
WEWS was informed by Lt. Tom Walker from the Berea Police Department that Pogozelski had been arrested.
“I can’t explain why he brought the real knife,” Walker said. Walker said that Walker should have used a fake prop or rubber knife. It was clearly a bad decision by him to bring a knife to the fairgrounds. He was criminally charged for negligent assault.
Geffert stated that he would need to make a decision about whether to keep Geffert employed at 7 Floors Of Hell.
This was the first time this story was reported by Jade Jarvis of WEWS.