Forty years ago, a Minnesota police officer’s vehicle was struck by a UFO. Officer Val Johnson wasn’t the only one to encounter a strange light in the middle of the night in late August 1979. Just two days after the Minnesota deputy sheriff’s car was hit by a UFO, an almost identical encounter occurred near Vermillion, South Dakota.
The Val Johnson story is well-known. Around 1:40 AM, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson of Warren, MN was patrolling near Stephen, MN when he saw a bright light approaching from the distance. Assuming it to be a plane making an emergency landing, he sped toward the light. “The light sat there a moment,” Johnson told the CUFOS investigators, “And then—boom!—it was right on my car. I heard glass breaking, an extremely bright light lit up the inside of the car, and that’s all I remember.” When the officer came to, he found his squad car sitting sideways in the road with a broken windshield, a broken headlamp, and two bent radio antennas. The deputy’s wristwatch and electric dashboard clock had stopped for fourteen minutes, and Johnson had suffered what doctors later referred to as “welder burns” on his eyes from exposure to an extremely bright light. Johnson had to wear eye patches for about ten hours after the incident, and it was a couple of days before his vision returned to normal.
What has been forgotten is that a similar incident occurred two days later, 400 miles away, near Vermillion, SD. Russ Johnson (no relation to Val Johnson) told police that he was driving alone west of Vermillion when he saw a light just above the road. The light suddenly accelerated toward him and engulfed his car in a bright light. He closed his eyes as the light approached but opened them just in time to see the light speed away. Unlike Deputy Sheriff Johnson’s story, Russ Johnson suffered no injury or damage to his vehicle. One might suppose that the story of the Deputy Johnson inspired a copycat report, but CUFOS investigator Bradly Ayers dismissed that possibility, saying, “Johnson’s case hadn’t been made public at the time the South Dakota event was reported.” These two late-August incidents preceded a UFO flap with several Minnesota and Western Wisconsin encounters through the fall of 1979. Read the fully story here.
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