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Highway Patrol releases messages between accused troopers

Posted July 5, 2011

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— The North Carolina State Highway Patrol released text messages and written communications Tuesday evening between two troopers accused of inappropriate conduct by a Raleigh couple.

The accusations stem from the June 21 Wilmington traffic stop and arrest of Gina Tessener by Senior Trooper Edward Wyrick, during which Tessener has claimed that she was harassed, intimidated and held on suspicion of driving while impaired, despite registering a 0.00 reading on two separate alcohol breath tests.

Tessener also has claimed that she believes Wyrick arranged to have her husband, Hoyt Tessener, pulled over by another trooper, Andrew Smith, during the encounter.

According to a timeline based on security video, Wyrick's incident report and an eight-page letter from Hoyt Tessener, the message exchange between Wyrick and Smith appears to have been between the time of Gina Tessener's alcohol breath tests at the Wrightsville Beach Police Department and Wyrick taking her to the magistrate's office.

The June 22 messages follow:

- 12:03:51 a.m. (from Wyrick to Smith): “This woman refused all roadside testing, and blew .00. Her husband is a trial lawyer and told me I should be ashamed of myself.”

- 12:05:02 a.m. (from Smith to Wyrick): “Hahahaha f--- her and f--- him. She say how much she’d had to drink?”

- 12:07:13 a.m. (from Wyrick to Smith): “She said 1 drink at 7pm.”

- 12:07:30 a.m. message from Smtih to Wyrick: “F---her.”

It is approximately 12:15 a.m., according to Hoyt Tessner's letter, that Wyrick says he is taking Gina Tessener to the magistrate's office.

It's on that trip that Smith stops Hoyt Tessener, who is following Wyrick, but Smith releases him without issuing a citation.

Another message exchange occurs between the troopers, beginning at 12:31 a.m.:

- 12:31:36 a.m. (from Smith to Wyrick): “TELL HIM IF HE WANTS TO COP AN ATTITUDE TO FEEL FREE AND COME BACK AND ILL ------ HIM THAT SPEED.”

- 12:33:42 a.m. (from Wyrick to Smith): “HOW FAST”

- 12:33:59 a.m. (from Smith to Wyrick): “58”

Wyrick and Gina Tessener appear on security video at the magistrate's office at 12:44 a.m.

In Hoyt Tessener's letter to the commander of the Highway Patrol, Gov. Bev Perdue and more than two dozen other state officials, Gina Tessener claims that Wyrick was texting on his phone shortly before Smith stopped Hoyt Tessener and told her, "Looks like your husband is getting pulled over."

According to the letter, she asked him, "Did you set him up?" and Wyrick said, "I resent you making that remark, and for that, I am not going to speak with you anymore tonight."

Gina Tessener has claimed that he later talked to another man on a two-way radio and that man said "I let him go," which upset Wyrick.

Wyrick denied those allegations in a note on his DWI report.

"I never made contact with Trooper Smith while en route to the jail until after I verified he stopped her husband," he wrote. He acknowledges that she asked him if he set up her husband, but he doesn't record his response.

Security video shows Wyrick escorting Gina Tessner into the New Hanover County Detention Center at approximately 12:44 a.m. She is later released.

As a result of the Tesseners' allegations, the Highway Patrol has placed both Wyrick and Smith on administrative duty, pending the outcome of an internal investigation, but it's unclear when the agency will complete its review.

The Highway Patrol did not have a comment Tuesday evening on the text messages.

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  • koverbee Jul 8, 2011

    Not just the same area, but same exact ROAD, same exact SECTION, and same exact TIME. And not just any trooper, but the same one he happened to be talking to BEFORE leaving and the one that was using all the negative profanity toward the lady. Again, I’ve got some great deals on beach front property in Kansas if people really believe this was just coincidence.
    Click to view my profile

    Again, not uncommon at all...I frequently see 2 law enforcement officers together in 2 separate cars. There is nothing at all unusual about that. So don't expect to get much for the beachfront property.

  • break on through Jul 8, 2011

    What part of a PERSONAL cellphone is not PERSONAL?! I want all people in NC to send me their cell phone text messages while they were working! Fair is fair!

  • allycat Jul 8, 2011

    I thought it was illegal to text while driving in the state of NC. Did this trooper text while driving? Looks like he needs to be arrested or cited for breaking North Carolina law.

    Also it appears that if Mr Tessener was running 58 miles per hour trying to keep up with Wyrick and Wyrick was pulling away from him at a higher speed from a traffic light. Wyrick was not on an emergency call, not using his emergency lights & siren. Then Wyrick and tessener should both be cited for speeding by the officer who observed this action. That is assuming the speed limit was 55...

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 7, 2011

    “Actually it's not uncommon at all for more than one trooper to be in the same area. SO that means absolutely nothing.” – koverbee


    Not just the same area, but same exact ROAD, same exact SECTION, and same exact TIME. And not just any trooper, but the same one he happened to be talking to BEFORE leaving and the one that was using all the negative profanity toward the lady. Again, I’ve got some great deals on beach front property in Kansas if people really believe this was just coincidence.

  • koverbee Jul 7, 2011

    So the cop that Wyrick was texting BEFORE leaving the station, just happened to be on the same road, at the same section, and at the same time as Wyrick and the husband? If you believe that I've got some beach front property in Kansas to sell you.

    Actually it's not uncommon at all for more than one trooper to be in the same area. SO that means absolutely nothing.

  • realrhino2 Jul 7, 2011

    Lightfoot3, that's an interesting question to me. Assuming the husband WAS in fact speeding, does it make Smith's stop "bad" if he was following him just because Wyrick suggested it? Meaning it would be okay to pull him over for speeding if he was behind him by accident, so to speak, but not okay to pull him over for speeding if he was behind him by design? Curious what people think about this.

  • Lightfoot3 Jul 7, 2011

    So the cop that Wyrick was texting BEFORE leaving the station, just happened to be on the same road, at the same section, and at the same time as Wyrick and the husband? If you believe that I've got some beach front property in Kansas to sell you.

  • koverbee Jul 7, 2011

    "Absolutely they should both be stripped forever of their so-called authority and their ability to ABuse it but... I believe they represent the majority of "Lew Enforcement" in general."

    These troopers did absolutely nothing wrong except for using foul language, which doesn't warrant discipline...millions of others curse and are not disciplined. They followed procedure all the way but unfortunately they stopped someone who believed she (and her husband) were above the law. If you're going to bash these troopers (I am directing this toward ALL of the negative comments, not just yours) then you should really take the time to get all of the facts and you will see that several of the claims made by her husband were outright lies. There are too many people criticizing these troopers who really don't have enough information and therefore should not assume. If that shoe were on the other foot I feel strongly it would result in very different comments.

  • thepeopleschamp Jul 7, 2011

    "Looking at the mug shots of the two "fine, upstanding Ociffers of the Lew" I can easily picture in my mind....." kota069

    After looking at a photo of a face you can read whats in their heart and mind? How about we look at your golo name and assume you are some sort of public deviant? That would not be fair would it?

  • realrhino2 Jul 7, 2011

    Why do people think her headlight wasn't faulty?

    Why do people keep saying she requested to be tested at the station?

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