Burgettstown man accused of endangering children

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A Burgettstown man was arrested Saturday by McDonald police after his 12-year-old son found him passed out two days earlier and called 911. William M. Ferrelli, 35, of 2003 S. Pittsburgh St., is accused of failing to care for his two sons, ages 2 and 12, and 10-year-old daughter.


Police were called just before 11 p.m. Thursday for a report of an unresponsive man who was unconscious but breathing. When police entered the home, they were stopped by Ferrelli who reportedly appeared dazed and confused. He reportedly refused to interact with police, but continued to look outside.


The 12-year-old boy told police that he called for help when he found his father unconscious. The boy said he lifted his father’s eye lids but when he got no response, he knew something was wrong. He told police that he and his siblings tried to wake their father. When they could not, the 12-year-old called 911.


A neighbor told police that she heard the children crying for help. She told police that it took several attempts before she was able to get Ferrelli to wake up.


Ferrelli told police that he was only playing around with his son. The boy told police he was watching television when he heard his father fall. He told police that he was not playing with his father at the time.


Police said Ferrelli’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot. He also was incoherent and did not have any idea that his neighbor had been in his house, checking on his welfare, police said. Ferrelli admitted to police that he had taken two Xanax and smoked marijuana earlier in the day. He also told police he had taken methadone five days earlier.


Police contacted Washington County Children and Youth Services. A caseworker arrived and asked Ferrelli to submit to a drug test. He tested positive for opiates and benzodiazepine.


Police contacted the children’s mother and asked her to return home. The caseworker told Ferrelli and the mother only permitted to be with his children under supervision.


Ferrelli was arraigned Saturday before District Judge Ethan Ward on three counts of child endangerment. He was placed in Washington County jail on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for June 19 before District Judge Gary Havelka.


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