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Pastor seeks information in '09 death of son

Mary Pickels
| Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010

A Fayette County pastor whose son died from injuries from a vehicle accident last year and an investigator the family has hired issued a plea Wednesday for witnesses to come forward.

Ewing Marcus Marietta II, 18, of South Connellsville died July 15, 2009, three days after the accident in North Union.

The Rev. Ewing M. Marietta and James Baranowski spoke to reporters near the accident scene along Route 40 East outside of Hopwood.

Baranowski said witnesses have identified two young men who he believes struck Marietta with their vehicle as Marietta attempted to direct traffic past his wrecked vehicle.

The original police report said Marietta was ejected from his car when it hit a concrete barrier and rolled over.

"We don't know what happened that night," Ewing Marietta said.

In May, Baranowski filed a petition seeking a court order for the release of 911 emergency dispatch records related to the accident. In the petition, he indicated he believes a second vehicle was involved and that the younger Marietta may have been struck while standing outside his car.

Baranowski had hoped to obtain the telephone number for the initial caller to 911. He noted the caller gave a false name but the person might be identified by tracing the phone number.

Judge Ralph Warman denied the request that month.

A photograph Baranowski showed depicts the younger Marietta's Mustang on its roof. A door is open, and one tennis shoe is visible behind the vehicle.

Baranowski said the teen's body was found 30 to 40 feet away from his vehicle. He said his body had no road rash or brush burns that would have indicated he had been ejected.

If a motorists comes forward and "if they say, 'I'm sorry, I made a mistake, we would be willing to go to bat for them to lessen the penalty," the father said.

"We had to forgive them. God's word tells us, 'If you don't forgive others, how can I forgive you?' There still needs to be some accountability for this person (or persons). ... so they can make a change in their lives," he said.

On Tuesday, a settlement agreement was reached with county officials to withdraw code enforcement actions and financial penalties against Liberty Baptist Church, where Ewing Marietta is pastor. The church has agreed to bury his son in a cemetery, moving him from a burial site on the church property which violated the county's zoning ordinance.

Ewing Marietta's attorney, Mark Rowan, disclosed the settlement Tuesday at a hearing scheduled for the North Union's church's appeal of a $5,071 fine imposed by a district judge.

Baranowski asked that anyone with information regarding the accident or any business that may have repaired a small dark car around the time of the collision contact him at 724-439-0549.

Ewing Marietta said the loss of his son has helped him to better understand the grief of other families who have lost children.

"In the past, I could say, 'Wow, I'm sorry,' but I did not know what they were feeling," he said. "Now I know. When you lose a child, you lose your future."

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