On July 12, 1950 Deputy Cook, Deputy Jerry Cole, and CHP Officer Harry Hamill were dispatched to an abandoned wrecked car that hit a power pole, near the entrance to Lake Yosemite Park. Earlier in the evening a young girl had been reported missing from a skating rink, and Cole and Cook were dispatched to investigate the wreck to determine if there was any connection with the missing girl and the abandoned car. At the scene the three men decided to check the engine number of the car. Cook bent over, obtained the number, straightened up and stepped back. It was then; apparently he brushed against the wire. Deputy Cook was hospitalized with severe burns. He succumbed to his injuries eight days later.
Lawrence Oakly Cook was a native of San Francisco, born July 9, 1920 to Lawrence O. Cook and Rosalinda C. Sanchez. Lawrence' s great grandfather Francisco Sanchez came to San Juan Bautista from New Mexico in 1848 when he was 10 years old. Later on the family settled in Hornitos, where Francisco raised his family.
He attended local schools in Merced, was a graduate of Merced High School. In 1940 he worked in Alameda as an airplane mechanic.
He joined the United State Navy, served on the USS Litchfield, during World War 2; Sept 22, 1943 to Dec 25, 1945. (During World War Il, Litchfield escorted United States submarines in and out of port, and also conducted anti—submarine patrols off of Pearl Harbor.)
After his tour of duty he met and married Ferne L. Lindholm. They returned to Merced County, they had one son; Steven Lee Cook.
Deputy Cook was a veteran member of the Sheriff’s Office, but resigned in 1949. For a brief time he was a Atwater Policeman. He returned to his old post at the Sheriff’s Office prior to his death.
Deputy Cook was laid to rest in the Calvary Cemetery, Merced Ca.