At 1:40 a.m. 36 years ago, Marshall County Sheriff's Deputy Val Johnson was on night patrol along a rural section of State Highway 220 near Warren, Minn., when he drove into a ball of white light.
"I noticed a very bright, brilliant light, 8 to 12 inches in diameter, 3 to 4 feet off the ground," Johnson said in a taped police interview. "The edges were very defined."
Johnson drove toward the light, and woke up in the ditch a half-hour later with burns around his eyes. The windshield and one headlight of his 1977 Ford LTD were smashed. Both radio antenna were bent sharply back. The watch on his wrist and the clock on the dash both ticked 14 minutes slow.
The incident turned Johnson into a local legend and national media sensation. And years later, people are still talking about it. [...]
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