NEW INFO: Trooper Given 4 Day Suspension

A Highway Patrol trooper, one of two who was under investigation for a DWI arrest in Wilmington, has been suspended for four days.

Trooper Andrew Smith's suspension began today, according to Highway Patrol spokesman 1st. Sgt. Jeff Gordon.

Smith and Trooper Edward Wyrick were under investigation after Raleigh attorney Hoyt Tessener claimed that his wife was mistreated after a traffic stop in Wilmington last month. The woman was arrested for drunk driving, but later released after two breath tests came back negative.

Wyrick was cleared of any wrongdoing, but Smith was suspended for violating the patrol's conduct policy. Text messages released show the trooper used multiple expletives when discussing Tessener's case with Wyrick.


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The Highway Patrol has cleared one state trooper, while it plans to discipline another in the case of a woman wrongfully arrested for drunk driving.

The Highway Patrol says Trooper Edward Wyrick has been cleared of any wrongdoing after an internal investigation. The patrol says Trooper Andrew Smith violated the patrol's conduct policy and will be suspended.

A news release says their investigation showed that all allegations against Trooper Wyrick were unsubstantiated and he is returning to full duty status immediately.

The Highway Patrol says at the conclusion of Smith's suspension he will return to full duty status. Text messages released show the trooper used multiple expletives when discussing Tessener's case with Wyrick.

To read the investigative reports, click on the links at the top of this story. WITN has blocked out offensive language in these documents.

The investigation came after Raleigh attorney Hoyt Tessener claimed that his wife was mistreated after a traffic stop in Wilmington last month.

“During the course of the investigation, a number of discrepancies were discovered between what was alleged to have occurred and what we know occurred through witness accounts and other information. The information and evidence obtained during the investigation does not support Mr. Tessener's allegations. However, the investigation did show that Trooper Smith violated Patrol policy, and he will be disciplined accordingly,” said Col. Michael Gilchrist.

The two troopers had been placed on administrative duty after the attorney sent a letter to Governor Beverly Perdue and other state officials about how his wife was treated.

“I take any allegation of trooper misconduct very seriously," said Perdue in a statement. "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. This investigation highlights how important it is that we – both public officials and citizens – withhold judgment until all the facts are in.”

Gina Tessener says she was pulled over by Trooper Edward Wyrick after leaving a formal dinner in Wilmington. Tessener says she was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge despite registering a 0.0 rating on two separate Breathalyzer tests.

She says Wyrick also arranged to have her husband, who was following her, pulled over by Trooper Andrew Smith.


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The North Carolina Highway Patrol has released text messages between two troopers involved in the case against a woman wrongfully arrested for drunk driving.

Officials confirm that the two troopers communicated about Gina Tessener the night she was pulled over. The trial lawyer's wife was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge despite registering a 0.0 rating on two separate Breathalyzer tests.

The News and Observer says the messages were peppered with four letter words between Troopers Edward Wyrick and Andrew Smith. Tessener's husband came to the station and told Trooper Wyrick he should be ashamed of himself for accusing his wife of driving drunk. Despite blowing 0.0, Tessener was not released.

Mr. Tessener was later pulled by Smith as his wife was transported to the magistrate's office by Wyrick.

The text messages did not show whether the troopers colluded to pull him over.



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A Raleigh attorney who is making accusations against the North Carolina Highway Patrol is due in court for simple assault next week.

The North Carolina Court Calendar shows Hoyt is charged with misdemeanor simple assault. WWAY-TV in Wilmington reports Hoyt is charged with punching a man in the face, shortly after 3:00 a.m. on December 5.

WWAY is also reporting the surveillance video from the police station in Wilmington on the night Gina and Hoyt Tessener were there shows some differences in the couple's story and what happened.

In one media interview, Hoyt Tessener says the trooper came close to him after Gina took a breathalyzer test. WWAY reports the video does not show that.

Two Highway Patrol troopers have been placed on administrative duty.

Hoyt Tessener sent a letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue and other officials complaining about his wife's treatment during the traffic stop last week.

Gina Tessener says she was pulled over by Trooper Edward Wyrick after leaving a formal dinner in Wilmington. Tessener says she was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge despite registering a 0.0 rating on two separate Breathalyzer tests.

She says Wyrick also arranged to have her husband, who was following her, pulled over by Trooper Andrew Smith.

Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon says the agency is conducting an internal investigation.

Late this afternoon Governor Perdue issued the following statement:

“The policy of this administration is zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior. We expect the absolute best from state employees. This incident has been under investigation since it came to light. These two troopers have been placed on administrative duty. The Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety and the Colonel of the Highway Patrol will take appropriate action upon completion of their investigation.”



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The North Carolina Highway Patrol is investigating a Raleigh woman's claim that she was mistreated and falsely arrested by a state trooper in Wilmington.

Gina Tessener's husband, Hoyt, sent a letter to Gov. Beverly Perdue and other officials complaining about the woman's treatment during a traffic stop last week.

Gina Tessener says she was pulled over by Trooper Edward Wyrick after leaving a formal dinner in Wilmington. Tessener says she was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge despite registering a 0.0 rating on two separate Breathalyzer tests.

She says Wyrick also arranged to have her husband, who was following her, pulled over by another trooper.

Patrol Sgt. Jeff Gordon says the agency is conducting an internal investigation. Gordon says Wyrick is still on duty.


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