WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Two state troopers are off the road after a Raleigh couple accused the duo of wrong doing. WWAY broke this story Tuesday, and tonight we take a closer look at what happened after the traffic stop last week near Wrightsville Beach.
We’ve obtained video from inside the Wrightsville Beach Police Department that tells a slightly different story than what the couple has told.
This week Hoyt and Gina Tessener have come out both in a letter to the governor and on camera telling us about their run-in with a trooper they say tried to intimidate them.
The Highway Patrol and the trooper accused have declined opportunities to tell us their side of the story. But tonight video from that night gives us a closer look at what really happened.
In the video from inside the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, you can see Gina Tessener and Tpr. Edward Wyrick Jr. walk in. Wyrick arrested Tessener on suspicion of drinking and driving.
Less than a minute goes by before the trooper takes off her handcuffs. A minute later he reads Tessener her rights. After that he gives her her cell phone.
“You can make all the phone calls you want,” Wyrick says. “If you have any questions, ask.”
Tessener gets on her phone, and her call is answered. She explains what’s going on.
Fifteen minutes go by, and Tpr. Wyrick returns. He asks Tessener if she wants to answer some questions or wait for her husband, who is an attorney. He even tells Gina Tessener what some of the questions may be.
“If you want me to wait till he gets here, I’ll wait for him if you want to,” Wyrick says.
The pair pass a few minutes chatting. Wyrick asks Tessener what kind of law he practices and makes a joke about how many attorneys he sees on his job.
“I have a lot of people come in and say, ‘I’m an attorney,'” Wyrick said. “I say, ‘What kind of attorney?’ They say, ‘Real estate.'”
Eleven minutes later, Gina’s husband Hoyt arrives. Wyrick asks Gina to confirm it’s him before letting Hoyt into the secure area.
As soon as he walks in, Hoyt Tessener points at the trooper and asks his wife, “Did he touch you?” Gina tells him, “No.”
Hoyt and Gina Tessener whisper to each other as they wait for Wyrick to call them in to the next room for the breath test. When Wyrick calls them in, Gina blows a 0.00 blood alcohol level. They wait for the machine to recalibrate, and again, Gina blows a 0.00.
“I did blow a 0.00 twice,” Gina Tessener told us during an interview Wednesday. “He asked me to do it again. It was at this point where he became angry.”
During our interview, Hoyt Tessener said, “He did the second one and told us to leave for that one, and Gina left to the other room, and I didn’t. I stood exactly where I was, and he came up and put his chest within an inch of my shoulder telling me to leave, and I stood there until the minute it showed again 0.00.”
But the video shows something slightly different. Tpr. Wyrick tells them to leave after the result shows up and does not get as close to Hoyt Tessener as the couple made it seem. Wyrick even backs up when Gina walks back in to get something off the desk.
After the couple walks out, the trooper tells Hoyt to go to the waiting area.
“I’m an attorney,” Hoyt says.
Wyrick says he needs to wait outside, and Hoyt agrees. The Tesseners share a few word, before Hoyt points at Wyrick and says something that sounds like, “You should be checked.”
“I’m sorry?” Wyrick responds.
When Hoyt Tessener says, “0.00,” referring to the breath test results, Wyrick points at Hoyt to leave and follows him to the door.
It is only at this point that Wyrick begins to look agitated.
The trooper walks back into the room, and Gina Tessener addresses him in a much higher voice than before.
Later, Wyrick appears to be texting on his phone, as the Tesseners alleged.
“This whole sting he set up,” Gina Tessener said. “What I felt like at this moment is that he didn’t want this to come out.”
The Tesseners suspect Wyrick texted another trooper, because later when Wyrick takes Gina to the New Hanover County Jail to see a magistrate, Tpr. Andrew Smith pulls over Hoyt, who is following Wyrick to the jail.
The Tesseners also accused Wyrick of giving them inaccurate information by saying Gina was headed “downtown” to see the magistrate and be released. In the Wrightsville Beach Police Department video, you can hear Tpr. Wyrick twice tell Gina where he’s taking her.
“Alright, ma’am. I gave your husband the directions to the jail,” Wyrick says as he returns to get Gina for transport. “Can you stand for me?”
Wyrick then handcuffs Gina before they head out to his car.
The Tesseners told us Wednesday they were disappointed to learn that Wyrick was still on active duty as the Highway Patrol’s Internal Affairs investigators look into what happened. Thursday Gov. Perdue released a statement say both Wyrick and Smith had been put on administrative duty during the investigation.
“The policy of this administration is zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior,” Gov. Perdue said in her statement. “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.”