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Published: Wednesday, 8/13/2008

Veteran Toledo firefighter put on leave

A high-ranking member of the Toledo Fire Department was placed on paid administrative leave yesterday after he was stopped along southbound I-75 in Monroe County early Monday and authorities found marijuana in his car, authorities said.

Lt. Bruce Cook, appointed to the department in 1978, was stopped by Michigan State Police about 2:45 a.m. near North Dixie Highway in Frenchtown Township after a trooper clocked him driving 37 mph on the interstate.

About the same time, a passer-by called 911 about a suspected drunk driver weaving in and out of lanes, said Trooper Sharon McDonald.

The trooper said Lieutenant Cook has been charged with operating a vehicle with the presence of drugs and possession of marijuana. He was booked into the Monroe County jail and later released, authorities said.

Trooper McDonald said Lieutenant Cook admitted he had been drinking and identified himself as a lieutenant with the Toledo Fire Department.

His blood-alcohol content was tested with a Breathalyzer and blood test. Trooper McDonald said results from the blood tests are pending, but confirmed Lieutenant Cook had been drinking.

During a search of Lieutenant Cook's vehicle, Trooper McDonald said authorities found marijuana in his car.

Fire Chief Mike Wolever said Lieutenant Cook will remain on paid leave pending an internal investigation.

He is assigned to Station No. 9 on South Avenue as a shift supervisor, but also responds to fires, Chief Wolever said. Lieutenant Cook is paid an annual salary of about $63,500.

The chief said Lieutenant Cook has a clean disciplinary history with the department.

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