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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.

 

Comment on this Story

  • Grand Ole Party

    No actually you DO NOT have to advise her of her rights because you put cuffs on her. Try again.

  • Guestina

    IF you refuse a breathalyzer and are taken to jail that means the law says you are GUILTY until you prove yourself innocent????

    When did this country become a fascist state? Hmmmm?

    The woman was 0.0, there was no alcohol. The trooper was wrong all the way around on this one!

    He wanted to pick up a hot blonde and when she shot him down, he took revenge.

  • Guest1999

    I hope that you people check out this trooper’s record:
    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars.Officer.do?index=Next+25&start

    He seems to be keeping an awful lot of drunks, and otherwise impaired, drivers off of our roads.
    Too bad that it isn’t illegal to be a ‘blowhard troublemaker’, because then someone could arrest Mr. Tessenner! I really hate that the trooper that pulled him over, let him go!
    And sure , why not suspend a trooper who makes so little money anyway, for putting his life on the line everyday! I couldn’t agree more.

  • bobo

    well chalk up another day in N.C. If enough people would file formal complants when they feel a leo has broken the rules of conduct. Then maby perdue will wake up and put her foot down and clean house in the nc highway patrol.As a matter of fact is the state troopers realy nessary when there is all ready local and county leo I allwayes love to see a good train wreck.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    The suspect must be read his or her rights only when they become a suspect of a crime AND are undergoing or about to undergo questioning. Now, many departments require reading the rights immediately upon arrest as an insurance marker that the rights WERE read, but that’s a local administrative requirement, not a legal requirement.

    So in the example you cite, when an officer approaches your window and asks you if you have been drinking, technically he should NOT be asking that question. He should ask you, “How are you doing tonight, sir? I am officer ______. May I please see your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. Do you know why I stopped you?”

    That engages the driver in a conversation wherein the officer can ascertain from his speech and movements if the driver appears intoxicated. He can then ask you to take a field sobriety test if appropriate.

    The courts have traditionally allowed a large degree of flexibility and tolerance regarding Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues when it comes to motor vehicles and drivers, however, and the basic, underlying finding of most case law regarding drunk driving is that if you blow .08 ALL the rest of the process and procedure becomes purely academic.

  • Guest64541312

    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.

  • Guest342516

    I’m sure she and her Bigshot Lawyer, Professional Victim, Husband, were perfect angels, throughout whole the process. If Trooper Wyrick “Walked Threatenly” and used a horrible statements like “fancy car”. No wonder her poor husband is so “Grived and Saddened”.

    Poor Miss Priss, mother of three. First he has the nerve to expect her to take off her high heels, and possibably scrape her precious, blue-blood toe, on a pebble. Now he is verbally abusing her, by mentioning her “fancy car”.

    Maybe he didn’t realize how important she was. Maybe Trooper Wyrick has this notion that all people are equel under the law, and it is his duty to enforce it without favor. Maybe they would feel less “Grived and Saddened” if we gave them a few thousand dollars, and if Trooper Wyrick lost his job.

  • Guest461

    …to proceed on with the official test at the station. I believe that you can insist on a personal witness of your choice for the “official” BAC test perfomed by calibrated equipment at the station. If one still blows a 0.0, but still appears intoxicated, the officer may suspect drug use and order a blood test. I don’t believe the citation is written until the results of the official test are finalized.

    The troopers are usually pretty darn accurate in their initial suspicions. They DO NOT like to be wrong!

  • Guest0000

    Tessener is a hotshot lawyer with an attitude. I’ve seen their kind on many occasions.

    His wife did not want to do the walk in her high heel shoes? Well, she could have taken them off.

    I can just imagine how snotty she was to the highway patrolman. My sympathies are entirely with the highway patrolmen who are trying to keep drunk drivers off our roads.

  • Guest234568

    You have an extremely poor grasp of not only police procedure, but the law in general. Brush up by reading the SCOTUS case behind your “rights”: Miranda v Arizona (1966). Having your rights read to you only applies under the following circumstances, when you’ve been arrested and when you are being interrogated (any further questioning related to offense). Upon the initial stop, the individual is not under arrest. The Trooper is simply investigating a potential crime and therefore your Miranda rights do not apply. Even after being placed under arrest, the officer is not required to read you Miranda UNLESS they intend to further question you. Many times this does not take place as no further questions are asked and there is no longer an attempt to build a case or garner information from the individual.

    “It is better to be thought ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  • Really

    She does have to have her rights read to her when they put the cuffs on her and placed her in the back of the car. You do not only have your rights read to you when you are bieng questioned, and I believe “Have you been drinking tonight?” is a question.

  • Guest342516

    If Mrs Bigshot Lawyer’s wife was driving in high heels, no wonder he pulled her over. High heels are slick, and their unbalance causes the foot to slip off the pedal. They are a hazard. Most women take them off before driving. A trained law enforcement officer, whose job it is to hunt DWIs, before they kill someone, would quickly notice the signs, of a foot slipping off the pedal.

    If Miss Priss refuses to take a soberity test, because her precious toe might scrape a pebble, that is her right. But that left Trooper Wyrick no other CHOICE, but to arrest her. I feel soooooooo sorry for her poor “Grived and Saddened” bigshot lawyer husband. Maybe a few thousand dollars might make him happy. But in this case his wife was wrong, and it looks like he’s gonna have to go find someone else to squeeze.

  • SgtsGrl

    I totally agree! Furthermore, if Mr. Name Dropping Lawyer decides not to return to Wilmington, New Hanover county or any other county in our area…we are all better for it!

  • Guesttttttt

    and most are likely legitimate. If this trooper seems to focus on that particular crime, then hats off to him for that. In case you’ve forgotten, ILM was recently ranked the drunkest cities in the state. Remember what happened to the father/son on River Rd recently – not far from where a teenager killed another cyclist while impaired a couple of years before. Remember what happened to the recent college grad across from Corning a couple of years ago. Those are just from memory. There seems to be a huge problem with driving while impaired in the the ILM area lately. An investigation will determine whether he should remain on duty but until then, keep after those drunks Trooper.

  • Das Weibstück

    Question for all you DUI law aficionados. Is the device for measuring alcohol levels on the side of the road hooked up to any computer system so cops cant write whatever they want on a ticket? How does this work? If she blew 0.0 on the side of the road and then he took her to WB station would she have had another test administered there by another officer?

    Also, if she felt uncomfortable with this officer on the side of the road could she have requested that another officer join them? Or would that have made the situation worse? I wonder if she was telling the officer that her husband was an attorney etc. from the get go and it was pissing him off a bit.

  • Grand Ole Party

    The officer doesn’t have to read her any rights unless she is being questioned. Predator police patroling your streets…..oooooh. Someone is watching way too much tv.

  • Cindy

    A few months ago I had an accident and Trooper Wyrick was there. He was very professional and what above and beyond helping us out. He made sure my car was taking care of as well as making sure we got home safely.

  • Das Weibstück

    Good point Lowrider. There are a lot of DUI’S on that list.

  • islanddog

    take a moment and think about how many folks this super trooper harassed who were not a powerful attorney’s wife. How many Lives he may have ruined or caused significant turmoil in. Im sorry the lady had to go through the ordeal but maybe it will shed some light on the good ole boy system which is in full effect in this county

  • Guestgustd

    These guys are on a power trip and it sounds like they messed with the wrong citizen. I hope this is investigated and the trooper is dismissed. This occurs too often–and Wrightsville Beach is full of power-tripping cops!

  • guest2

    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.

  • Guest2154654

    you know nothing about what really happened that night. why dont you dig up the videos, with audio, from the intox room, and the jail and then you can voice your opinion on how trooper wyrick performed his job. maybe if you werent so incapacitated by all the FALSE media lies then you would be able to understand that wyrick did absolutely nothing wrong. do some more research. you just look like some poorly educated person on a power trip trying to prove a point, well good job because you failed horribly.

  • Guest54321

    You have the same class envy issues as the trooper. Who cares if she is rich, poor, blue or green? The trooper had no right to proceed in the manner he did after the woman blew a 0.00. And if he colluded with another officer to illegally detain the woman’s husband as she was being transported to Castle Hayne, then this guy needs to be fired immediately.

  • ohmy

    It’s called “PRETTY BLONDE PROFILING GONE WRONG”!!!!

  • Guest54321

    He says he smelled “moderate alcohol” (LOL!–a genius Trooper Cletus is clearly not) on her breath and she blows 0.00?

  • PF

    MikeG,
    the outrage here is not over her being brought in to be tested, but for everything else. He was right to bring her in for breathalizer if she refused a field test. But, the issue here is the unprofessional and actionable behavior of the Trooper during and after the whole process – AND, the possible corruption in trying to set up the false arrest of the husband by another Trooper – AND, the behavior of the Magistrate..
    I’m sorry that you can’t see the fundamental lack of fairness here and how this tears at the fabric of the justice system which we all must have faith in as a civil society.

  • Lowrider

    The hundreds of current cases you have charged people with are all about to get dropped pending your immediate termination. With that much revenue gone from fines and court cost, they will have to raise my taxes.

    http://www1.aoc.state.nc.us/www/calendars.Officer.do?index=Next+25&start=0&navindex=0&citnum=&county=999&agency=SHP&officer=wyrick&officerNum=&submit=Search

  • Guest14542546

    You guys that are talking crap about Trooper Wyrick obviously have no idea how the law system works. 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. There is no two ways around it. And with this woman being the wife of such a “huge, big time” lawyer (if he can really call himself that) you would think that they knew such simple knowledge as the above mentioned facts. Yeah, you’re a great lawyer, Tessener, good job. If you had to go to court and represent someone for this, guess what, you would lose your case. And you sir, Mr. “big time, i’ll throw any name i can think of” lawyer, should be ashamed of yourself for coming up with such ridiculous and egregious accusations. Go back to Raleigh. Your business is not wanted here. Especially if you think lying your way through the entire complaint is going to get you anywhere.

  • Dennis Chinn

    I have read this article and the full letter to Gov. Purdue. Nowhere in either document does it mention the officer read Mrs Tessener her rights. Also why was Mr Tessener not allowed to act as his wife’s Attorney and able to stay with his wife. I believe law officers have one of the most potentially dangerous jobs and understand the stress of the job, but commonsense and good judgement must prevail. This situation either has alot of information that is not being shared or alot of people are covering up for an officer guilty of very poor judgement. I can’t help wondering if any of the holes in this story will ever be shared publicly. As to Mr. Tessener, being an attorney I think he failed to convey correctly his position as a lawyer that may have had some affect of the outcome of this situation. It doesn’t sound like the officers involve were aware they were dealing with a lawyer. If in fact they were aware of that fact, that only lends to a cover up by our local law enforcement and highway patrol which means that we have preditor police patroling our streets and we all are subject to this type of behavior. I personnaly do not believe that to be true and hope this is truly an isolated incident.

  • Renfield

    Perhaps did Tessener steal some doughnuts from Wyrick prior?

  • lawyer go home

    I love how at the end of the lawyer’s letter he threatens to never come back to New Hanover County again. Hey dude, next time stay home, we got enough traffic, one less car on the road. This lawyer clearly states he judges all Troopers now by the actions of this one. Someone help me, what is the word that means defining an entire group based on the bias opinion of one, what is that called, hmmm? What a whiny lawyer, tough up and grow up.

  • the people’s champ

    I read the lawyer’s letter, and what the lawyer calls “threats” are what the Trooper is required to read to the suspect from a piece of paper. The Trooper also allowed the husband in the room with his wife. It sounds to me like the Trooper was not as barbaric as the lawyer portrays him to be. And the whining about the handcuffs, guess what, when you are arrested you remain in handcuffs, no matter who you are. And how does a Trooper “walk in a threatening manner”? And how did the Trooper try to get the lawyer to punch him? That made no sense at all. Poor lawyer didn’t get his way and now has to lie and cry about it, boo-hoo.

  • PDConcern

    When will there be some kind of accountability for these law enforcement officers on power trips. The only agaency that seems to have their act together is WPD. The NHC Sherrif’s Dept has a long ways to go and the SHP has always had a problem with feeling they are above the law. I hope this gets investigeted and action is taken. We don’t need another crooked cop on the roads.

  • Guest4242

    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.

  • Ziggy

    There is no legal obligation to take roadside breath test, and this lady is lucky she didn’t. If she had, there would be no records of the results, and the officer would probably say the results were positive. There are legal penalties for not taking the Breathalyser. She did and blew a 0.00 TWICE.

    The officer is required to have “probable cause” to administer the roadside breath test unless there is a DWI checkpoint. The report says the probable cause was “moderate smell of alcohol.” Yeah right- the lady had not been drinking. What a crock. The officer was on a power trip.

  • Wrightsville Beach Visitor

    My dad was a policeman and my brothe-in-law is a retired NC highway patrolman.
    There are two sides to every story, but IF the trooper did all of this, he should be GONE.
    I can understand a woman in a dress and heels not wanting to walk on a gravel road, especially if she hadn’t been drinking as appears to be the case here.
    The trooper’s report said he smelled MODERATE alcohol on her breath, and she blew a 0.0 — twice.
    He obviously has smell issues or he was making up a reason to take her in.
    And then when she blew a 0.0 TWICE, cuffing her again and taking her all the way from Wrightsville to Castle Hayne???? Cuffed?? Pretty incredible – if it happened.
    Then setting up the husband to be pulled over by another patrolman, who appears not to have found anything wrong with him. Why was the husband pulled over?? Better be a good reason for that, because apparently he wasn’t charged or arrested.
    So we have a Trooper smelling moderate alcohol on a woman who hadn’t been drinking. Cuffing her AFTER she blows 0.0 twice and then having her husband pulled for no apparent reason.
    What do they say about power. It corrupts.
    I applaud any person who stands up for themselves and their spouse, especially when authority abuses power. I hope this Trooper didn’t do all these things, but if he did, lets continue cleaning up the SHP.

  • Guest342516

    I thank Trooper Wyrick for protecting us. DWI’s kill thousands of people each year, whether its a indigent, on a suspended license, driving his mother’s unregistered vehicle, or Miss Bigshot, mother of three, whose husband’s a friend of the governor, coming home from a social at the Hilton, it’s his sworn duty to investigate ALL suspected DWIs.

    Half the folks on the road, on a Friday night have had something to drink. Most are not drunk. After a soberity test, most are not even arrested. But when he has a even slight suspesion of DWI, and she refuses to be tested, he has no choice, but to arrest her. If she would have been drunk, and hurt somebody, he could lose his job, and be sued. Her husband is quite a good coach, but she dictated the circumstances, when she refused to take the soberity test.

  • Guest54321

    If you read the account offered in the letter, it was the patrolman who repeatedly referenced how he could not afford a “fancy car” like the one the lawyer’s wife drove.

  • Guest3455

    Another rich pompas attorney who thinks his stuff doesn’t stink, and is using his social status (or what he thinks is his social status) to play polotics and get his ichy richy wife off.. I am more concerned this was thrown out because of politics. It sounds like he was interferring with an investigation.
    Had any of us lowly under privlidged people had this happen, we would have spent the next few hours in a cell…
    Well Mr. attorney… welcome to the real flippin world… This isn’t a trooper thing, this isn’t a wpd thing… This sort of thing happens all the time. The trooper had every right to take her in for a bal test after she refused a field sobriety test. Was the trooper on a power trip? Probably so… Is the attorney just as guilty as trying to use social status to play politics? Absolutely…
    I wonder if Mr lawyer has ever gone to this length for any of his clients to prove their innocence… I would be willing to bet not… SOunds like they are BOTH on a sick ego power trip…

  • Wheres Andy when U need him

    Looks like Wyrick messed with the wrong person. I know officers have a tough job and feel like there alone out there. The get lied to all the time and can’t trust anyone. I totally respect them for what they do every day. Its a shame that someone egotistical as Wyrick has to tarnish what others work so hard to keep clean. Good for you Mr. Tessener for standing up for what is right and reporting this. Maybe 30 days suspension WITHOUT pay and some people skills training will set Trp Wyrick in his place. Remember……WITHOUT PAY……Us law abiding citizens consider suspended WITH PAY a vacation. I will let my employer suspend me with pay anytime.

  • JON

    Its her right to not take the field Sobriety test and clearly wasn’t believing of the Trooper who said he smelled alcohol when she blew a 0.0! So she knew it was impossible and he clearly had bad judgement. What is sad is the fact that after she blew the 0.0 she still had to go through more of his evil tactics. This man is clearly not capable of doing his job. He needs to be off the road. And hopefully his conduct does not represent all Troopers.

  • Opinion

    I hope this trooper is immediately dismissed from the department. He obviously is on a power trip and thinks he is above the law.

    I have worked in the legal field for many years with a lot of courtroom experience. I have seen, on numerous occassions, police officers with tremendous attidudes. For example, I saw a City of Wilmington police officer get on the stand and lie. The reason I know he lied is because I happed to be a witness to the alledged charges. I happened to be a bystander when an officer arrested someone for being impaired when they were completley sober. This officer illustrated similar behavior as trooper Wyrick. On the stand this officer said the defendant was stumbling to his car before he was pulled. That was not true.

    Of course, in the end, these charges were compeletly dropped but only after this person was put through a humiliating and degrading experience. The trooper was very agressive and unprofessonal.

    I only hope that these corrupt officers can get weeded out so the honest law abiding officers can effectively do their job and the citizens can trust them.

  • MikeG

    Are you kidding me with this letter. This is just another man who thinks he has power and will use it to destroy a persons career.
    Why would you mention the make of your car and former titles you held. Was this a resume or a complaint letter. Who cares what you drive and what you do. If any discipline is giving to this Trooper it will once again show that power rules and our North Carolina Political system remains corrupt. This could of all been avoided if the lady would of taken the test from the start. Her husband who claims to be a powerful lawyer should of known this.
    I guess he thinks he is way above the law.
    No one should comment until the WHOLE truth is out. We are going on the word of Mr. Bigshot Lawyer trying to push his so called political power around.
    Y’all talk a good game about how bad the Police are until one of your family members are killed by a drunk driver and then your tune changes.

  • Raleigh guest

    Don’t you think the wife of an attorney knows her rights when she’s pulled over? C’mon people. This is blatant misconduct and he should be rebuked accordingly.

  • PR

    Sen. Thom Goolsby, Rep. McComas and others, please follow up on this. After reading Mr. Tessener’s letter to the Governor, I am completely shocked and saddened that this happened right here. This i so completely infuriating and outrageous as to cause incredible anger against Troopers in general as I am feeling towards this Tpr. Wyrick right now.
    He should be suspended immediately until a thorough INDEPENDENT investigation has completed.

  • tanya

    That’s what we have. Fast to critize, the nc state highway patrol is accepting applications–APPLY!!! Can you bear to see that mangled body, fight with that person that doesn’t want to be arrested, stop a car on a desserted road in the middle of the night.. I’m tired of everybody critizing the people that put their life on the line to protect us. No body is perfect, mistakes get made. Would we have heard about this, if this lady would have been under the influence? This story is base on her account to her husband as to what happened before her husband arrived. Get your name out there lawyer. Maybe if she would have taken the sobriety test at the initial stop, this would not have gone to the jail. Pull the stats on the DWI arrest and convictions in New Hanover Co. My hat is off to the NC State Highway Patrol.

  • Guest342516

    When she refused to take the soberity test, she left the officer little choice.

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