Troopers placed on administrative duty following harassment claim

Troopers Andrew Smith and Edward Wyrick

June 30, 2011 4:04:21 PM PDT
Governor Beverly Perdue announced Thursday that two North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers have been placed on administrative duty following a Raleigh couple's claim of harassment.

Gina and Hoyt Tessener filed an eight-page complaint alleging she was harassed by a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer in Wilmington last week. That complaint was sent to Perdue and other public officials for review.

The Tesseners' complaint alleges Trooper Edward Wyrick -- a patrolman in Wilmington since 2006 -- "embarrassed, humiliated, confused, frightened, intimidated, and degraded" her.

In a statement released by Perdue, she said Wyrick and another trooper, who has not been named, are on administrative duty.

"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."

Records show Trooper Wyrick pulled Tessener over for having a headlight out but smelled alcohol. The complaint says she refused a breathalyzer, was handcuffed, then arrested, and verbally assaulted the whole time.

Gina Tessener later took two blood alcohol tests. The results showed 0.0 both times.

The complaint goes on to say Trooper Wyrick didn't release Tessener after she passed the tests, but rather took her - in handcuffs - to the magistrate, who also verbally attacked her.

After she was released, the Tesseners filed the complaint.

"Whatever happens with Wyrick will reveal the practices and procedures of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol," wrote Hoyt Tessener.

The Highway Patrol told ABC11 Tuesday the investigation is ongoing, but declined to comment further.

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