The director of a popular kayaking festival was slashed in the face Saturday night by man who crashed a party thrown to celebrate the festival's success.
Jason Beakes is recovering from a long and deep slash on his face, which he suffered in a bizarre attack at a party at his home in Poolesville. He was throwing a party to celebrate the success of the Potomac River Festival, which had been held July 4-6.
The festival lures some of the nation's best kayakers, including Olympians and national competitors.
Beakes, a Bethesda native, is the founder and president of Active Nature, the lead sponsor of the festival. He had spoken to News4 about the festival on Friday, one year after a kayaker had died practicing for the race.
The encounter began Saturday night when Beakes and other people invited to the party noticed the crasher. They asked him to back off.
"I approached him and said, 'Give people some space,'" he said. "'You are making the DJ uncomfortable.'" The guy disappeared, Beakes said.
A few minutes later, though, he was back. "He appeared out of nowhere, and just walked right up and said nothing and slashed me with a knife."
"I turned just as he was slashing at me. He didn't even speak to me. I saw a short blade flash."
Police arrested Gerald Ewald, who they found nearby. He's charged with first degree assault.
Meanwhile, Beakes -- many stitches later -- is back on the water, with no plans to let the attack slow him down.
"A really good plastic surgeon was on call and he did an excellent job at doing a couple different layers of stitches and repairing everything," Beakes said. "The scar will be pretty minimal."