Local News

Highway Patrol releases messages between accused troopers

Posted July 5, 2011 8:55 p.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2011 10:41 p.m. EDT

— 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.