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.


Previous Story

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.


Previous Story

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.”



Previous Story

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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by funny on Jul 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM
    Out of all these posts none really comment on the story at hand. These 2 troopers did their jobs and did them well, they just made a mistake by texting a few stupid phrases. Things happen. The NORTH CAROLNA HIGHWAY PATROL is still the best agencie in this country.
    • reply
      by Duh on Jul 18, 2011 at 08:03 PM in reply to funny
      0.00, you nimrod
  • by NCLEO on Jul 17, 2011 at 02:03 AM
    To "Uh", 7-17-11 1:43AM: Okay, so what's your point? To Anonymous 7-16-11 9:55PM: I'm not sure if I understand your question as it appears, but here goes: Any vehicle can be used as a deadly weapon. Meanwhile, as for what I would do if the driver I've pulled over blows 0.0 on my Alco-Sensor, I would do as I've done in that situation before, which is, send them on their way {assuming I'm not citing them for any violations they may have committed prior to the stop, or for any other illegalities I've detected after first contact}.
  • by NCLEO on Jul 16, 2011 at 09:05 AM
    No LEO I've ever met {myself included} wants to be put in a situation where he has to use deadly force. The axe scenario that I mentioned was for illustrative purposes. Using deadly force has put more than one officer in prison, because in that situation you only have a split second to decide if you can legally fire or not. The attorneys, judges, and juries can take years to decide if you were right or wrong. Every time an officer is forced to fire in self defense, he knows full well that it can potentially cost him everything he has..even his freedom. The pastors I talked to were not trying to overrule the Bible. They were EXPLAINING it, which is one thing they learn to do in seminary.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2011 at 01:12 PM in reply to NCLEO
      Have you ever met Troopers Wyrick and Smith? You read their text. You read what they say and how they feel about the general public who dare question their authority. You are a level headed, professional. I have no doubt about that. Are you going to convince me that at least one of these troopers is not part of the 2% that Leo said was arrogant and unprofessional and that the agency would terminate. Where is the termination? You tell me that one of these troopers would not lie to cover up for the other, after reading their texts, because if you do you just became part of the 2%. One of these guys is setting a bad example for the other.
      • reply
        by NCLEO on Jul 16, 2011 at 05:20 PM in reply to Anonymous
        No, the last thing I would try to do is convince you of that. If you read through my postings on this story, you'll see that I've readily admitted that some officers have done things they shouldn't. The only point I've been trying to make is what you've already alluded to; that is, that not all LEOs are arrogant and / or unprofessional. The more strongly-worded anti-police comments from others on this site prompted me to try to make that point. Overall, I think that you and I are on the same page here...and by the way, a sincere "Thank you" for the compliment in your last posting!
        • reply
          by uh on Jul 16, 2011 at 10:43 PM in reply to NCLEO
          Read the texts.
  • by LEO Location: ENC on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM
    These comments remind me of Jesus and the comment He made to the crowd regarding the adulteress, He who is without sin , cast the first stone. Are there officers in every agency who should be doing something other than being an LEO ?? -- Most Certainly. Are there employees in your company or organization that should be doing something else ?? -- Most Certainly. Law Enforcement agencies quickly get rid of the arrogant and unprofessional officers whenever the documentation for their actions is compiled. If you have a VALID complaint of rude and unprofessional behavior, notify the Director, Chief or Sheriff and let him know what took place. Your response may be the last nail in the coffin the boss needs to get rid of that officer. I hate being considered rude, stupid or arrogant just because I wear the uniform of my agency and you have never met me or know anything about me. Do I believe everyone at FedEx or the post office is a crook because some employee got caught stealing from the packages they deliver ?? Wake up people, 98 percent of us are hard working officers who give you an honest days work at a job that most of you don't want to do OR can't do. I don't want the other 2 percent working in law enforcement anymore than you want the unproductive 2 percent individual working along side you.
    • reply
      by REM on Jul 15, 2011 at 04:33 PM in reply to LEO
      I am telling you. There are too many religious nuts on WITN.
    • reply
      by Dais on Jul 15, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to LEO
      you know I complaint and that didn't nothing at all. because complaining to the sheriff department and to the DA. what they did was cover it up. I even took it too the FBI and to this day , nothing was done about it. and maybe if more people complain and stop pleading guilty for something they didn't do. and maybe if this state have lawyers that are willing to fight for people right, instead of offering people a reduction for a prayer of judgement. but that's the reason this state is the way it's. That's how things are done here. people did to change how things are done here in nc. if deputy accuse someone of speeding, and you wasn't speeding. but what prove do they have? nothing at all. but deputy words that counts. and lets say, if the deputy write you a ticket but he didnt see you speed or clock you. but in court he bring someone to say that deputy clocked you. but again what prove? nothing at all. that how things are done here. next time you get ticket , and run Statewide Officer Court Appearance Query, you will see how many ticket that person have given within 2 months period. The deputy that gave me a ticket had over 800 tickets, I think it was 860. I mean who gives out that much ticket, unless you are wrongly accusing people. and I will say, I wasn't speeding. every time that deputy gives out ticket, he gets $5.00. do the math.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2011 at 05:52 AM in reply to LEO
      Cast the first stone? What is your implication? Breaking the law by speeding, and many other laws, are not sins. Thou shalt not kill is a sin, but most LEO's have no problem pulling the trigger. The 2% figure that you use of bad employees at FedEx or the post office have not, to my knowledge, taken a sworn oath. You hate being considered rude, stupid, or arrogant just because you wear the uniform. That is the result of the 2% of employess in YOUR agency that is reflecting poorly on all of you. That is YOUR responsibility to fix, not the general public. How long do you think it would take before Your agency retaliated against someone who lodges a complaint. In my case it took about 6 months. Get real man! You take out your own garbage, and no, agencies do not get rid of arrogant and unprofessional officers.
      • reply
        by NCLEO on Jul 16, 2011 at 06:58 AM in reply to Anonymous
        More than one pastor that I've asked has explained it to me: The Bible is talking about murder, NOT self-defense. If an officer is cornered by a man approaching him with an upraised axe, exactly how do you propose the officer should respond? As long as some of the criminals we deal with are armed {and no gun law will disarm them}, we need to be likewise armed.
        • reply
          by local on Jul 16, 2011 at 08:18 AM in reply to NCLEO
          This story isn't even about that. Are you LEO's always itching for a self defense run-in? That's not healthy at all. These two cops need to stop texting like little girls in middle school and act like men.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2011 at 08:35 AM in reply to NCLEO
          Did the man running to his car have a raised axe when he was shot in the back? NO! I have no problem with you being armed. I have a problem with how you sometimes use deadly force when it is not warranted and you are never held accountable. You had better hope one of those pastors you talked to is God because no pastor I have ever met has the authority to overrule the bible. You are asking a mere mortal to help you justify your actions. It dooesn't work that way.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jul 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM in reply to NCLEO
          What if he was armed with a deadly weapon vehicle & he blew a 0.00? Sound familiar? How would you deal with that?
  • by Anonymous on Jul 15, 2011 at 09:47 AM
    There is only one good cop.....
  • by Anonymous on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    So these men are risking their lives out there looking for people breaking the law and jeopardizing others lives and a couple of lawyers feel they are above being stopped and providing information to officers ie the field sobriety tests. All this could have been avoided if she would have taken and passed the sobriety tests. As far as the texting...Big effing deal!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM
    the reports said that all phone logs - personal and professional - were reviewed - tht would mean that the records would be subpoenaed so they would know if anything was deleted.
  • by citizen Location: Greenville on Jul 14, 2011 at 09:18 AM
    I will not sleep soundly knowing that our state troopers conduct themselves like middle schoolers on their texting devices. Is this the reason law enforcement are allowed to text while driving? So they can say "wtf" and "omg" and gossip to one another? We obviously don't pay our troopers enough, because we cannot hire mature trained professionals.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM in reply to citizen
      how do you know he was driving while texting, stupid comments.
      • reply
        by Sadly True on Jul 15, 2011 at 06:03 AM in reply to
        How do you know he wasn't... Smarty Pants?
      • reply
        by citizen on Jul 15, 2011 at 09:24 AM in reply to
        Honestly, I don't care whether he was driving while texting. I frequently see Greenville PD cars making no-signal turns, running stop signs and cross walks with a phone in one hand. I am more disgusted with the content of these troopers' texting logs. Go read them, it's like a couple of school girls.
  • by George Location: Greenville on Jul 14, 2011 at 08:47 AM
    I think law enforcement officers need to get paid more for what they do and with that pay increase should be a higher set of standards for ALL law enforcement officers in North Carolina. The low pay only attracts low lifes.
    • reply
      by Petey Pirate on Jul 14, 2011 at 07:13 PM in reply to George
      They are paid too much as it is. Just a bunch of tobbacco farm rednecks that the state has hired.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 17, 2011 at 04:48 PM in reply to Petey Pirate
        Wow Petey, what an intelligent observation. Guess your'e not a redneck. Or maybe, you got turned down by the patrol.
  • by NCSHP East of 95 on Jul 14, 2011 at 06:26 AM
    Funny, it doesnt sound like or state that I want anything from you or anyone else. I was merely pointing out some information that was being misinterpreted.
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