make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

ONLY ON 3: Attorney & wife's run-in with trooper leads to letter to Gov. Perdue

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Attorney & wife's run-in with trooper leads to letter to Gov. Perdue
trooper300.jpg

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A Raleigh attorney is making some big accusations against a Highway Patrol trooper here in New Hanover County.

Hoyt Tessener says the trooper accused his wife of driving drunk, but that's just the start of the accusations that Tessener made in a nine-page letter to the Gov. Bev Perdue.

Read Tessener's letter to Gov. Perdue

The Highway Patrol is investigating the allegations against Tpr. Edward Wyrick Jr. What's also interesting is all the people Tessener sent it to.

Tessener also sent the letter to Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, Attorney General Roy Cooper, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger, along with area representatives and senators like Thom Goolsby. Tessener even sent the letter to the District Attorney's office and the Highway Patrol.

In the letter Tessener describes an incident last week involving his wife Gina, who was returning to a friend's home in Wrightsville Beach after leaving a North Carolina Advocates for Justice gala in downtown Wilmington.

Hoyt Tessener says Wyrick pulled Gina Tessener over just before the Wrightsville Beach bridge. In the letter Tessener says the trooper said he pulled her over because one of her head lights did not work. The trooper then accused Gina of drinking when she had not.
   
Gina refused to do a field sobriety test because she was in heels and a dress and in a gravel parking lot. Wyrick arrested the mother of three and took her to the Wrightsville Beach Police Department for a breath test

According to court documents Gina Tessener passed not just one but two breath tests by blowing a 0.00 each time.

In the letter Hoyt Tessener, who came to the police department to be with his wife, says he thought his wife would be free to go. Tessener said Wyrick yelled at both he and his wife at the police department. Tpr. Wyrick, who Tessener says seemed upset Gina did not fail the breath test, explained that she would have to be taken downtown where only a magistrate can release here.
    
Hoyt says before following the trooper, who still had his wife in custody, he noticed Wyrick texting someone on his phone.

During the trip toward downtown another trooper pulled over Hoyt Tessener, who suspects he was set up by Wyrick. The second trooper let Tessener go after some questioning.
 
Tessener eventually figured out his wife was not downtown, but instead at the New Hanover County Jail in Castle Hayne.

Tessener says the magistrate at the jail asked his wife if she understood what she did wrong. The letter says Gina Tessener told the judge she did nothing wrong and did not understand why she was arrested in the first place.

In the end Gina Tessener's citation was thrown out for lack of probable cause.

An internal investigation is underway as Wyrick remains on duty.

We reached out to several people including the Tesseners, Gov. Perdue and Tpr. Wyrick himself, but we have yet to get in touch with any of them.

UPDATE: Tuesday evening WWAY received an e-mail from Hoyt Tessener, who apologized for not returning our calls earlier today.

"I wanted to give the SHP the opportunity to investigate," Tessener wrote. "Despite what we went through, I wanted to speak with the SHP first. We heard from SHP at 4 p.m. today. We plan to speak with interal affairs officers tomorrow... I am disappointed to learn that Trooper Wyrick remains on active duty... I am curious to learn about their investigation."

Also, first thing Tuesday morning WWAY requested the dashcam video from Wyrick's car. The Highway Patrol says his car is not equipped with a video camera.

 

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

Prescription drugs ? She "looks like" she was rude ??

The trooper wrote "moderate smell of alcohol" and made no mention of any problems driving or communicating. You can be sure he would've included "prescription drugs" in his report if he had suspected that, especially after the two 0.00's.

As for her "looking like she had an attitude" or being rude, where is any reference in the report to her being non-cooperative, rude or combative. The answer is "NOWHERE." How you can infer a personality from that picture is mind-boggling.

And for the guy who finds it odd she had NOT been drinking, maybe she chose not to drink since she had to drive. Is THAT suspicious or is it commendable ? The Breathalyser doesn't lie twice does it.

Wyrick went with the "moderate smell of alcohol" in a person who hadn't been drinking--- OOOPS !

Some of you seem to be looking for an excuse to defend the trooper and are doing so by making stuff up. Maybe that's because it "sounds too bad to be true," but such stuff happens frequently but usually not to people who aren't able to do anything about it. If it happened to you or a loved one of yours, you'd change your tunes.

The thing that I cannot get over is the trooper telling the husband to follow him "downtown" and then seemingly having him pulled. If that is not what happened, why was the husband let go without so much as a warning ticket. If that is in fact what happened, Wyrick should not be wearing a badge and should be canned.

I suspect that Trooper #2 decided he didn't want to be part of the nonsense once he realized what was really happening, and good for him !

Let's see what the investigation reveals.

What you have here is a

What you have here is a lawyer that thinks he and his wife are above the law and shouldn't be stopped or questioned by any law enforcement official. He probably does have some kind of connection in Raleigh and wants to get this trooper fired simply because his wife was stopped and questioned. A typical lawyer!!!!

What you have is a citizen

What you have is a citizen who happens to be a legal expert knowing what the trooper allegedly did was beyond the law. It will be interesting to hear more details, but so far it looks, smells and walks like a trooper with some issues, personal or professional, that led him to pick on the one person who had NOTHING he could hang a charge on and wasn't very happy about it (see 2nd trooper's actions, he let it drop). Defending one party because of their job and condemning another party because of THEIR profession is just childish...kind of like the trooper.

An investigation of this

An investigation of this matter will reveal that the lawyer's letter is correct. Then, all of you bad-cop apologists can have a chance to wipe the egg off your face...if you have the sense to do that.

I think there is more to

I think there is more to this story. Somehow I cannot see a middle-aged well-to-do woman going to a fundraiser and not having something to drink. Maybe she did not, I am not accusing her. Also, I suspect that she might have gotten a little snitty with the officer. That is not a good thing to do. He had a reason to suspect she had been drinking. I hope WWAY will stay on top of this one. Anyhow, Officer Wyrick seems to have been doing his job according to the link, by getting a lot of drunks off the road. He might have even saved the life of someone who replied here wanting him terminated.

Being "little snitty" is not against the law

Being a "little snitty" if she was is no excuse for his actions--many people go to many places without drinking--here is another person sterotyping "well-to-do middle aged woman again---Hard to believe she didnt have a drink? whatever man!!! Is this the best defense for the troopers actions and poor judgement--shame on him and you

It probably boosted his ego to think he had caught a well to do woman doing something wrong---- but he didnt't.

I usually order Diet Coke or

I usually order Diet Coke or coffee when I know I'm going to be driving. Woman can't absorb as much alcohol and still be sober enough to drive as can men (due to size differences, I suppose), so it is not uncommon to see women drivers not drinking at events where male drivers feel free to have 2 or 3 drinks. Unfortunately, men seem to be greater risk-takers when it comes to booze and driving. I'm not saying this lady did not drink (how would I know?), but I am saying that it is not at all unreasonable to believe that she did not.

uhh

Guest666, not everyone drinks. I have 1 a year. She did blow a ZERO.

Local Citizen 123, you are

Local Citizen 123, you are clueless. Why applaud the corrupt trooper? You'd be singing a different tune if this had happened to you.

She looks like she has the

She looks like she has the capacity to take a snotty tone when she feels like she's not in charge. And yes, she was wrong to refuse a roadside sobriety test. She probably gave the trooper attitude, ('do you KNOW who I am, and who my HUSBAND is?') and I don't blame him a bit for making her life difficult for a few hours in an attempt to make her understand that she's subject to laws like everyone else. Let's wait for the official SHP report.

Brian? what would people say you look like?

The comment she looks like she has the capacity to take a snotty tone? What do people say you look like? An Ass!!!
Let me guess you are a state trooper!!!!

Brian.

The road to fascism is paved with attitudes like yours.

Class warfare much?

Who cares how wealthy she is or what she was driving? How is this in any way relevant to what happened that night?

Wealthy woman

Apparently people care--I keep saying the same thing--
They are sterotyping this woman---Shame on people

Field Sobriety Tests & DWI's

Many, if not most DWI's are now written for prescription drug use. Im not defending the officer, because it seems like he may have given them a little extra run-around, but the officer could have inferred that she was impaired on some other substance than alcohol.

Prescription meds ??

The trooper wrote "moderate smell of alcohol" and made no mention of any problems driving or communicating. You can be sure he would've included "prescription drugs" in his report if he had suspected that, especially after the two 0.00's.

He went with the "moderate smell of alcohol" in a person who hadn't been drinking--- OOOPS !

The thing that I cannot get over is the trooper telling the husband to follow him "downtown" and then having him pulled. If that is what happened, Wyrick should be canned. If that is not what happened, why was the husband let go without so much as a warning ticket. I suspect that Trooper #2 decided he didn't want to be part of the nonsense once he realized what was really happening, and good for him !

Time to be objective

First, you're all reading accounts of this by the wife and lawyer husband.

As much a people don't like cops in general, do you really believe that this went like this? Really?

Don't you think that some lawyer from Raleigh might know just the right words to use in this letter to elicit the correct response HE'S looking for? Put a few bullet comments in there and you will get attention, but no one should be condemning anyone yet. I think there WAY MORE to this story than the lawyer is letting on with.

If that trooper is that bad, don't you think that at least ONE of the over hundred defendants on his court list would have filed at least a complaint?

Get real and open your eyes. Definitely one thing that the trooper did was keep one more pompous jerk from moving here. Thanks Trooper !!!

"Poor Trooper" "Go home out of towner" & other nonsense

Sorry, you're the one without a clue about the "law system." Your statement that:

"If you practice your right to refuse the road side test (whether you're impaired or completely sober)as soon as you refuse, guess what, you're going to jail. End of story"

is flat wrong. You don't go to jail unless there is probable cause, unless some jerk like Wyrick goes off on his power trip.

As for Mr. Tessener going back to Raleigh, please work on your reading comprehension. One key point of the letter was that there was a convention in town bringing MUCH-NEEDED tourist dollars to our local economy. The lawyer mentioned his position on the Board of Governors because in that position he was one of the people who brought this convention to Wilmington.

Your telling him to "go back to Raleigh" is essentially saying "take your much-needed money out of local economy", which thousands of unemployed and underemployed folks here would strongly disagree with.

For those of you supporting Wyrick, did you miss the part about Tessener mysteriously getting pulled while following his wife from Wrighstville Beach to the jail ? Do you think it is okay for a trooper to set up someone as "punishment" for his wife NOT being drunk and thereby embarrassing the trooper.

And how do you feel about the trooper taking this woman to jail in Castle Hayne in CUFFS after she blew 0.00 TWICE ? He "showed her" didn't he !

For those who point out that we should remember that we may need Wyrick if there's a terrible accident or a drunk driver, that IS a valid point, but he took himself off the roads for 3 hours to "deal with" a 50 year old lady who had not been drinking and was not even speeding. So why would he do that ? Why would he comment about her "fancy car", which was a 5 year old mid-level Lexus ? Here's your answer- Wyrick has a serious attitude problem, and he was abusing his power.

The NC Highway Patrol had a great reputation for decades, but lately there's been a lot of bad press. That is sad, but the bad apples should be weeded out. We pay their salaries, and they are supposed to "protect and to serve", not "show off and set up."

Thank You Ziggy!

Thank you for being an intelligent vioce in so much nonsense.

I suspect a good percentage of the pro Wyrick comments by well be his buddies on the force.

Wyrick's accomplice in this matter should also get some scrutiny in this matter. He had to be aware of the situation at least that this was not a rouutine act on his part.

For those of you upset with the attorney, you should keep in mind, it would take someone who is an officer of the court to be given any credibility compared to us everyday folk. Pretty much way abuse of power happens... we have little chance of being heard much less believed by the 'system' if for no other reason than the many backs being protected and backed. Think about it.

As Ziggy pointed out, this man, this couple, contribute more too their communities than most of you ever think about doing. It also wouuld be a pretty safe bet, this couple are property owners in New Hanover County as well as Raleigh so you can tell them to go home all you want. Don't be surprised if you see them in your markets and stores ......... supporting your community.

I'm just an everyday kinda gal but Wyrick probably would have gotten 'attitude' from me if I knew the pull was bogus. I would have demanded to get a supervisor on scene and to make sure the event was being recorded if at all possible beeffore agreeing to anything .... which would have been my right in America!!

It is jail..

I disagreed with most of the comments condemning the lawyer, praising the trooper...I feel, though, there is a misunderstanding in many comments. IN MOST JURISDICTIONS it is illegal to refuse a field sobriety test, in some it's considered an admission of guilt. I would guess it's to keep obviously impaired drivers off the road, but like many laws it can also target innocent drivers, causing them a whole lot of grief.

I know what im talking about.

Sorry if you feel that what i said was inaccurate. If a LEO (law enforcement officer) can SMELL alcohol on someone then he has probable cause. Maybe you should do your homework a little bit more and get ALL the facts straight. Keep in mind that the only side of the story that you are hearing is from the lawyer and his wife. To me it sounds like Trooper Wyrick did his job accurately and this big shot lawyer and his wife thought that they were above the law. Well guess what, to not raise confusion and discrimination accusations against oneself everyone gets treated with the same amount of respect. Whether you're a lawyer or a sheriffs wife. The law is the law. No if, and's or buts about it. And do you really think that this trooper set Tessener up to get pulled over? Tessener would not have gotten pulled over if he wasn't doing something that rectified him getting pulled over to begin with. The lawyer "cleverly" left that little bit of information out, didn't he? Lay off the trooper bashing. Wait until all the facts come out. Then you can see who is on a power trip. This lawyer is just dropping names to make himself sound even more powerful. Well, good for him, but when he tells constant lies in the complaint how well is that going to look on him? All he is doing right now is ruining his reputation, and that's fine. but he doesn't have to drag this trooper down with him. Don't you think that if this Trooper Wyrick was as awful as they are making him sound then hundreds of other dui "victims" of his would have come forward with complaints? Use some common sense. Not all officers you may come in contact with are on a power trip, and this one in particular surely was not. Everything would have been avoided if she had swallowed her pride and submitted to a road side test. She could have taken her heels off and performed the test with ease. And the reason that she had to blow into the toximeter twice is because they HAVE to do two separate readings. They blow once and then they reset the toximeter and the person has to blow again. As soon as Gina refused the road side sobriety test, after the trooper had probable cause to request one, she automatically relinquished her right to prove her innocence. If she hadn't been drinking, then why not submit to the road side test? It would appear that she was trying to hide something, especially if the trooper claimed he smelled alcohol. Why would he make that up? And accusing him of texting another trooper? Really? Ok, accuse him, and then pull his phone records and see if he actually did it. Prove that any of these accusations happened and i'll shut my mouth. But until then, that lawyer is a dumb ass. And has no right to slander this trooper. He didnt get his way, boo-hoo. If you're such a big shot lawyer then you should have known that your wife had two choices; submit to the road side test or get arrested. It's pretty simple. If you're innocent, then prove it. Otherwise, you're setting yourself for trouble.

GET THE FACTS RIGHT. THINK ABOUT THE TROOPERS SIDE OF THE STORY. DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR JUST BECAUSE THIS LAWYER CAN DROP A FEW NAMES.

People lie, did you ever think of that? Maybe this lawyer is LYING. Chill out with the bashing and wait for all the facts.

Oh, and have a good day. Hopefully you don't have any run-ins with the law, because you obviously have some anger towards them. And we wouldn't want someone else lying their way through a complaint just to try and prove a point. (which this lawyer is obviously trying to do, and which he is going to fail miserably at, too)

Wrong headed argument

"As soon as Gina refused the road side sobriety test, after the trooper had probable cause to request one, she automatically relinquished her right to prove her innocence."
The officer apparently did not have probable cause to request a sobriety test, proven by that fact that she later blew 2 ZEROs. No one automatically relinquishes their right to prove their innocence. The burden is not on the citizens to prove innocence...this is presumed.

"If you're innocent, then prove it." This is so wrong headed and counter to our justice system that I just pray that you are not involved in law enforcement in any way, shape or form. It's sad enough that you are a citizen and don't understand this.

Did you miss the part about

Did you miss the part about the other trooper letting Tessner go??? You are just a person who hates cops and troopers, you must have a record for running into the law. Do us all a favor, and by us all I mean the people who abide by the law, and shut up. You have no clue about anything to do with this case. You only know what the media is telling you. Didn't your parents ever tell you not to believe everything you hear on tv??? I guess not. Trooper Wyrick was only doing his job, and getting drunks off the road. Do you know how many people in this town drive drunk and kill the people they hit??? If you do not then you are not listening to the right news. Don't bash somebody because you want to, when you do not know the facts. Get your facts straight then maybe we will let you complain.
I say good job Wyrick, good job.

Last Time I checked

Last time I checked 0.00 two different times is a sober person--he wasnt doing his job getting drunks off the road--he was wasting taxpayer money chasing after sober ones.....

Limit

So the jails are really going to be full if 0.00 is the new limit for dui's.

You really need to check out

You really need to check out the whole story,. She didn't 'go to jail' the trooper did his job. The Magistrate decides the final outcome!!

Citizen's Rights

Hey, WWAy...There are a lot of good questions mixed in with the comments. I would love to see a follow-up article on our rights when stopped by the police. Was Mrs. Tessener ever arrested? If not, why did she have to appear before a magistrate to be released? If Officer Wyrick did not have a video dash camera, why not? How many/what percent of Highway Patrol cars have cameras? Did the officer who stopped Mr. Tessener have a video dash camera? Did the car that Mrs. Tessener was driving actually have a headlight out?

We have entered a world where we are being treated as criminals on daily basis (i.e. drunk driving check points and airports with NO probable cause.) I applaud Mr. Tessener for raising his voice as loud as he can.

How many police agencies does the beach need?

The Starnews New Hanover County salary database shows 26 employees at the Wrightsville Beach Police Department as of summer/fall 2009 data. The total of all salaries was $1,028,331.20, as of 2009. It would seem to me that Wrightsville Beach should be able to police their own little island without the help of the State Highway Patrol.

Maybe if you read things

Maybe if you read things correctly you would notice that she was pulled over before the wrightsville beach bridge. Therefore, the trooper was not even on wrightsville beach when the stop was made. If a wrightsville beach police officer had pulled this woman over on the beach, the outcome would have been the same. Troopers also have jurisdiction in the entire new hanover county area. Including; wrightsville beach, carolina beach, monkey junction and so forth.

Jurisdiction

They have legal arrest authority anywhere in the state on the roads, with the only LEO with more jurisdictional authority being a NC State Wildlife officer.
The jurisdiction a Patrolman has in the county and where you will see them is on ANY STATE owned road or Highway.