WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Raleigh attorney and his wife who called out a New Hanover County Highway Patrol trooper in a letter to the governor are now speaking out on camera.
Hoyt and Gina Tessener say they were in Wilmington last week for a conference. The attorney thought the trip would be like any other trip to the coast. Instead it became an experience that evoked fear and uncertainty.
The Tesseners say Tpr. Edward Wyrick Jr. pulled over Gina last week near Wrightsville Beach because the trooper said her headlight was not working. The stop led to Wyrick accusing Tessener of drinking and driving.
“He then turns into me and tells me, ‘I smell alcohol on your breath,'” Gina Tessener said.
Tessener says the trooper then took her to the Wrightsville Beach Police Department for a breath test. Gina blew a 0.00 twice
“It was clear from his face when gina blew the breathlyzer and it was 0.00…yYou can see him clench his jaw, tense up and was very angry by that,” Hoyt Tessener said. “You can just sense the way he tensed up.”
The Tesseners say Wyrick tried to intimidate them while they waited for the result of the second breath test.
“He came up and put his chest within an inch of my shoulder telling me to leave, and I stood there for the minute until it showed again 0.00,” Hoyt said.
The Tesseners say Tpr. Wyrick told them he would have to take Gina “downtown” for a magistrate to release her. On the drive Hoyt Tessener followed Wyrick, who had Gina handcuffed in his car. Just a few minutes in, another trooper pulled Hoyt over.
The Tesseners think Wyrick set the whole thing up.
“The way he was going around this was what can I do now to hurt him, arrest him… it was pure intimidation,” Gina said.
The second trooper soon let Hoyt Tessener. Hoyt tried to catch up with his wife, who was at the New Hanover County Jail in Castle Hayne, where a magistrate let her go.
The Tesseners eventually met up, putting an end to a night they won’t soon forget.
Tuesday morning they met with Highway Patrol Internal Affairs investigators.
“I asked them have you looked at the video tapes from the cruisers? Have you looked at the tapes from the booking room? Have you looked at the cell records or the radio chatter?” Hoyt Tessener said. “He said, ‘Well, we have not looked at any of that stuff yet.’ The last thing I asked him is Tpr. Wyrick still on the road, and he said, ‘I think he still is.'”
As for Wyrick, he had Wednesday off. We stopped by his home north of Wilmington. His wife answered the door and said he was not home. We left a message, and she said he would call us. He has not.
The Tesseners say they are very disappointed that Wyrick is still on duty. They hope the Highway Patrol will do what’s right in the end.
Of course, The this is just the latest incident for an agency that has been mired in controversies involving troopers for several years now to the point that the governor appointed a new leader for the Highway Patrol and a blue ribbon panel to look at reform.