Local News

Teen charged in Cary culvert fire appears in court

Posted April 25, 2013

— A 17-year-old who admitted setting fire to a culvert under Cary Parkway in March was in court Thursday morning, but his case was continued to June 4. 

Tristan Zammit, of Brownfield Drive in Cary, is charged with intentionally setting fire to grass, brush lands or woodlands. 

The fire caused a 12-by-8-foot culvert to partially collapse under the westbound lanes on March 21, and the road was closed for more than three weeks as crews tore up the pavement to dig up and remove about 100 feet of damaged pipe. It reopened April 15.

Police said earlier this month that they identified Zammit, a Cary High School student, as a suspect in the fire because he left his name behind and then bragged about it to a friend.

Cary police said in an application for a search warrant to obtain Zammit's cellphone and iPod Touch that firefighters found the name "Tristan" written in tar on the concrete face of the culvert. The tar had been melted off a coating used to protect the inside of the culvert from corrosion, according to the application.

Firefighters told police that the process of melting the tar could have sparked the March 21 fire.

The day after the fire, Cary Crime Stoppers received a tip that Zammit had sent a friend a text message asking the friend to go see what Zammit had done to the culvert, the search warrant application states.


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  • tristanmzammit Apr 30, 2013

    @4strikes, that really means alot. you can email me at Tristanmzammit@yahoo.com

  • ICTrue Apr 29, 2013

    This is a kid who made a mistake...and owned up to it. Also, his parents are owning up and not making a bunch of excuses. How refreshing. Maybe I will offer the kid a job with my company when he graduates.

    I think he gets the point that it was wrong and he should have been more careful. All of you hypocrite whiners who have never done anything wrong and who's kids have never done any wrong can just save it because we ALL know you are full of it.

  • Tritysu Apr 25, 2013

    Prozacdispenser, that is an old picture with tristan in stripes. His parents left him in jail for ten days during spring break and got him out on time to return to school. He has not missed any school. Parents wanted him to feel the consequences of his actions.

  • kikinc Apr 25, 2013

    Tristan-If that's truly you posting, the best thing you can do is accept your punishment, and use this as a catalyst to turn things around. You have plenty of time to contribute to society. There are many years ahead of you. Use them to do some good in this world.

  • LuvLivingInCary Apr 25, 2013

    maybe someone with more information on how courts work can say, but because he is wearing green stripes does that mean he is still in jail. if so, i believe in punishment but at this point i'm not sure what the point is...he's falling behind in school and will most likely have a hard time ever returning to society. get him out of jail and put him to community service. darn child molesters get treated better than this.

  • jb100 Apr 25, 2013

    He should be punished. Community service. To all of you talking about the cost of the repair and how he should pay for it. As a LONG time tax payer, I would gladly pay my two cents for this anyday of the week. Think about ALL of the WASTE our tax dollars go to EVERYDAY. To me this is money well spent as long as he learns from it. We all make mistakes, his was in the public eye. Get over it people.

  • tristanmzammit Apr 25, 2013

    to town of cary. I am so sorry for what I have done, I never intended for things to go out of hand. Im sorry for not thinking about the consequences for my actions. It was a stupid thing, and throughout my life this will remind me to think of the consequences of my actions. I did not prank or brag, and I wish I could go back and undo all this.I deserve a punishment and it would be unjust if I did not receive one. town of cary again, im very sorry.

  • Tritysu Apr 25, 2013

    Absolutely he should pay for his consequences, and as I said his parents are 110 percent for that, hence leaving him in jail during spring break. They absolutely want him to suffer the consequences and learn from this.

    Sometimes kids of good parents do some awful things. We are all to quick to blame the parents. Not always the parents. These are hard working , law abiding people with very high moral values. You cannot watch a 17 year old 24/7. Which they were striving to do. And again, YES, they believe he should definitely suffer the consequences and of course hope like any good parent , that the kid turned his life around. Stranger things have happened, don't you think.

  • CrazyFoxofCary Apr 25, 2013

    Sorry Tritysu, but "Good kids" don't succumb to peer pressure like that and cause the damage he did. In fact most "Bad kids" wouldn't cause that type of damage. He needs to be held accountable for his actions. From the sound of his history, if he doesn't pay the consequences now, we will be the ones paying the consequences later.

  • Obamacare survives Apr 25, 2013

    Make him pick up roadside trash this summer during the blazing heat.