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Trooper cleared of wrongdoing; another suspended

Posted July 8, 2011

— The North Carolina State Highway Patrol on Friday released its findings from an internal investigation that clears a state trooper of wrongdoing following a Raleigh woman's claims that she was harassed and intimidated during a traffic stop in Wilmington last month.

Another trooper identified in the case, however, was suspended for unprofessional conduct that violates Highway Patrol policy.

Senior Trooper Edward Wyrick Trooper's actions OK'd in report

Raleigh attorney Hoyt Tessener wrote an eight-page letter last month to more than two dozen state officials, saying that Senior Trooper Edward Wyrick stopped his wife, Gina Tessener, as she left a gala on the evening of June 21 and held her on suspicion of driving while impaired, despite her registering a 0.00 reading on two alcohol breath tests.

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Highway Patrol's findings She also has claimed that she believes Wyrick arranged to have her husband pulled over by another trooper, Andrew Smith, during the encounter.

"All of the allegations that Mr. Tessener has made – we went through those with a fine-tooth comb, and it's apparent that these allegations are not substantiated by none of the evidence," Sgt. Jeff Gordon, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol said. "It is supported by that in our report.

"I would advise people to go through there, and basically look at that report and look at what we offered and what the allegations were, and you can make your own determinations based on that," he continued.

The Highway Patrol said Wyrick was justified in making the traffic stop and had probable cause to arrest Gina Tessener.

Wyrick, who has been on administrative duty since June 30, was back on patrol Friday.

"I am disappointed in the results of the Highway Patrol’s investigation of the Highway Patrol," Hoyt Tessener said in a statement. "Based upon the many calls, letters and emails that I have received, I am not surprised that the Highway Patrol exonerated the Highway Patrol."

Smith will receive additional training on Highway Patrol policy before returning to full duty, the agency said..

The internal investigation found that he sent inappropriate messages to Wyrick, including some with profanity, and that he failed to document his stop of Hoyt Tessener, to whom he gave a verbal warning for driving 58 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Investigators, however, did not find any evidence that Smith and Wyrick tried to set up Hoyt Tessener.

"I know that people, sometimes, are looking for the smoking gun trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, but there's no smoking gun here," Gordon said. "That was the whole basis of our investigation – to look for that piece of puzzle to show that there was some type of linkage that both of those individuals conspired to stop Mr. Tessener, and it's not there."

Hoyt Tessener said in an interview with WRAL News on June 28 that he took his concerns to Gov. Bev Perdue and other state officials, because he didn't want what happened to his wife to happen to anyone else.

Perdue released a statement Friday, reiterating her commitment to a zero-tolerance policy regarding trooper misconduct.

"The public must be able to put its faith, not only in our law enforcement, but also in the system that investigates any complaints about misconduct," she said. "This investigation highlights how important it is that we – both public officials and citizens – withhold judgment until all the facts are in."

Hoyt Tessener maintained Friday that Wyrick wrongfully arrested his wife and said that, despite the zero-tolerance policy, "nothing has changed."

"I believe most people would come to the conclusion that Wyrick orchestrated the stop of me," Hoyt Tessener said. "I understand now why people are afraid to bring their complaints forward. We hope by coming forward, other women who are wrongfully stopped by Trooper Wyrick will be vigilant."

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  • drfiesta Jul 13, 1:50 p.m.

    The Tessener's seem to be very shady people at this point. One lie after another. Husband goes around town causing Bar Fights. (I'm sure this guy started that fight) Wife is above the law in Wilmington. I think the Tessener's need to tell everyone they are sorry. I mean they are sorry people so face up to the facts.
    Nobody will believe this family again. Not in court or at the club.

  • PublicAvenger1984 Jul 13, 11:36 a.m.

    I salute the governor, and the HP brass, for not letting these ambulance chasing, professional victims, ruin the lives of these fine troopers. Here are the facts....
    -She WAS driving with a headlight out.
    -She had been drinking at the event she left.
    -The trooper asked her several times to take a roadside test, which she consistantly refused.
    -She, not the trooper,chose to turn a simple 10 minute process, into a 3 hour situation.
    -Attorney Tressler told several lies.
    As a trooper, it is Trooper Wyrick's job to hunt down DWI's, and arrest them, before they kill us. He looks for any clue he can find. When he gets a clue, it is his duty to followup.

    When she refused to allow him to investigate the measure of alcohol he detected, she left him no other choice, but to arrest her. He could not let her go. Most people, like her, on a Saturday night have had at least something to drink. Most are not impaired. At least half the people pulled, are not even arrested, when the trooper is giv

  • jondoe Jul 13, 10:28 a.m.

    It's so sad how hungry people are for drama. This is not prime time TV folks, this is real life. I am seeing so many people make up stories about the trooper wanting a date and being angry she didn't want to be with him and all kinds of things. This story is very simple. Mrs. Tessener got pulled over for an equipment violation like hundreds of other people. The Trooper smelled alcohol on her breath and decided to run some tests. She refused and was then arrested **for refusing the tests, NOT for DWI like everyone keeps saying** and taken to the station to be breath tested to make sure. She got upset about this and so did her husband so they both decided to write some huge letter talking about a set up and this and that and wanted to get the troopers fired. Also it's not illegal for one trooper to tell his colleague to stop someone else as long as it's based on reasonable suspicion. There is no conspiracy here folks. Go get a life.

  • bluemax4195 Jul 11, 12:50 p.m.

    A slap on the wrist & all is "ok". I doubt any of us will ever know the full extent - if any - punishment which "might" be given to Smith either! My guess is - NOT MUCH - if anything!

    I recently viewed the on-line video for "On the Record" with David Crabtree on this issue, & was NOT surprised with Sheriff Harrison’s "backing" of these troopers. It's as if they're the minority & being "victimized", so they sure stick together, NO MATTER WHAT. After all, he's a retired trooper himself. I have nothing against the man, but he "is" drawing a full pension from the state, while he's "double-dipping" & drawing an even bigger full salary as Wake county's sheriff. But that's another issue for another day. It's just that some of what he said made me say: "come on! you've got to be kidding."

    This will NEVER be righted as long as these guys maintain this kind of power! I'm betting Sheriff Harrison didn't have this much power when he was a trooper & was more than capable in his duties.

  • ASU Jul 8, 7:59 p.m.

    Amusedone,

    Have many people have you arrested for DWI. I bet zero. You would be suprised how many people tell you they have had nothing to drink and don't appear drunk. But blow over the legal limit.

  • pinehorse Jul 8, 7:59 p.m.

    After one full week, the tale of the Tesseners and the Highway Patrol reaches its end.

  • No Party Affiliate Jul 8, 7:59 p.m.

    "If you do not like Troopers"

    Don't rely on the Governer to help you with the truth about the trooper.

  • Amusedone Jul 8, 7:58 p.m.

    To the person who said a police officer can pull you over for no reason...not true. There must be reasonable suspicion (a lower standard than probable cause...). True this is a pretty low standard, but it is still a standard. That being said, a creative trooper can always come up with "reasonable suspicion"...i.e. a broken headlight in this case.
    And it is also amusing that people point to a a SHP report to "prove" the troopers are innocent. I guess you trust the North Koreans or Iranians when they provide proof of their "innocent" actions as well.

  • ebeamer7472 Jul 8, 7:58 p.m.

    Amen ipspatrol. Simple as that.

  • DaisyMae Jul 8, 7:57 p.m.

    There are 3 sides to every story....yours, mine and the truth...hmmmm.

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