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Sketch of roadway and event.
Diagram of the collision, from the 1979 accident report.

UFO Smashed Car Here

Field review by the editors.

Stephen, Minnesota

At 1:40 AM on August 27, 1979, a brilliantly glowing something collided head-on into the patrol car of deputy sheriff Val Johnson. The impact, at milepost 68 on southbound Highway 220, smashed one headlight, and then the car traveled south nearly a thousand feet before skidding halfway off the northbound side, with its front end in a ditch.

The spot, on a rural two-lane blacktop, looks exactly the same as it did in 1979. You can still see the line of trees, a mile to the south, where Johnson spotted the light before it came flying up the road straight at him. The terrain is flat as a billiard table, with no trees, buildings, or anything else to block the view or suggest what it was that hit the car.

Unfortunately (and shortsightedly) there's also no marker of any kind to memorialize the Close Encounter -- just the milepost and a long, straight, flat road.

UFO Smashed Car Here

Hwy 220, Stephen, MN
To follow the route taken by officer Johnson, start on US Hwy 75 just north of the tiny town of Stephen. Turn west at the concrete grain silos onto 400 St. NW/Hwy 5. Drive west 11 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 220. Drive south one mile, to milepost 68.
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