Text messages released in trooper case

Troopers Andrew Smith and Edward Wyrick

July 7, 2011 5:09:32 AM PDT
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol released text messages Tuesday evening in reference to a harassment claim made by a Raleigh couple.

The texts were exchanged between Trooper E. S. Wyrick and Trooper A.M. Smith in reference to pulling over Gina Tessener.

The Tesseners, who are from Raleigh, were in Wilmington on June 22 attending an event. Hoyt, who is a lawyer, was following his wife in a separate car when she was pulled over.

Trooper Wyrick says he stopped Gina for a broken headlight but then smelled alcohol on her. The Tesseners say they call the series of actions that followed harassment.

The couple filed a complaint afterwards. That document was sent to Governor Beverly Perdue and several other top ranking government officials.

Pending the completion of an investigation, the Highway Patrol placed Wyrick and Smith on administrative duty.

The newly released text messages document a conversation between the troopers the night of the traffic stop. The messages were sent to and from the troopers' personal cell phones.

Once stopped, Wyrick asked Gina to complete a field sobriety test, but she refused, stating that she had not been drinking.

"This woman refused all roadside testing, and blew .00," Wyrick wrote in a text to Smith. "Her husband is a trial lawyer and told me I should be ashamed of myself."

Smith responded: "Hahahaha f--- her and f--- him. She say how much she'd had to drink?"

"She said 1 drink at 7pm," Wyrick wrote back.

"F--- her," Smith responded.

Once Gina refused the field sobriety test, she was arrested and handcuffed. The Tessener's complaint alleges Wyrick verbally abused her on the trip to jail and "embarrassed, humiliated, confused, frightened, intimidated, and degraded" her.

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.

Hoyt says once his wife was handcuffed and placed into Trooper Wyrick's car, he began following the vehicle to the magistrate's office. That's when he says was stopped by Trooper Smith.

In another text, Smith wrote Wyrick concerning Hoyt's "attitude."


Wyrick asked, "HOW FAST?"

"58," Smith said.

The speed limit on the road where he stopped Hoyt was 45 mph.

It is believed that the texts were exchanged after Smith stopped Hoyt.

The Tesseners say Smith stopping Hoyt was a set up, but Wyrick later wrote in a report that he never contacted Trooper Smith until after Hoyt was pulled over.

The Tesseners alleged the contact was by text. In the new video released Tuesday, Wyrick is seen using his phone just as someone would if they were writing or reading e-mails or text messages.

The ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team previously requested texts, phone and e-mail records for both troopers, but was told releasing that information could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

A spokesperson for the Highway Patrol told the I-Team its internal investigation is close to an end, but did not elaborate on an exact date of completion.

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