Local News

Trooper suspended four days for profane texts

Posted July 13, 2011 3:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2011 3:31 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina State Highway Patrol on Wednesday suspended a trooper for four days, saying he violated agency policy by sending text messages containing foul language.

The case stemmed from a Raleigh woman's claims that she was harassed and intimidated during a traffic stop in Wilmington last month.

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, even though she registered a 0.00 reading on two alcohol breath tests.

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

After an internal investigation, the patrol cleared Wyrick of any wrongdoing, saying he was justified in making the traffic stop and had probable cause to arrest Gina Tessener.

The investigation also found that Smith 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.

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