Massa describes the damage to his car after an impact around 2 a.m. Sunday.
Photo: Dee Moorman
Photo: Dee Moorman

Ohio man: Meteorite broke my Buick

Joe Massa of Kettering, Ohio, said he was driving home in the center lane on I-75 North when his Buick was struck by something around 2 a.m.

Out of the corner of his eye, he said, "I could see something. It was a light, shadow, a beam of light, small. Within a split second, something hit me, the front of the car was pushed over into the far left lane."

Massa said there was a big flash when it hit.

"It was like a silent pop," Massa said, "then there was pressure in the car. I could feel pressure in my ears, like the air had changed in the car, in a split second."

Massa, who manages restaurants in the Cincinnati area, said he pulled over immediately to see if he hit a deer, a dog, or something else. He found nothing, except the damages to the right-front bumper.

Massa said he got off at a nearby exit and went to a gas station where he met with a West Chester, Ohio, police officer and a trooper with the Ohio Highway Patrol.

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We continue to work to verify Massa's story with those agencies.

The dent in the bumper seems to show a downward motion, as if something fell from the sky and struck it.

"What are the chances of this happening?" said Massa, "The West Chester police officer told me it's 1 in 275 million!"

Massa said he was unaware of the meteor shower that was expected over the weekend as the tail of a comet, discovered in 2004, entered the earth's atmosphere.

Rich Wirdzek, a meteorologist for WHIO-TV in Dayton,  said incidents like this happen occasionally. He said it's possible for a meteorite to make it through the atmosphere and crash onto the earth, or in this case a Buick.

"On any given day, space junk falls into the Earth's atmosphere, but usually it's just dust," Wirdzek said.  "However, large pieces can make it to the ground during meteor showers like the one that was near the Earth this weekend."

Wirdzek said usually, the pieces are no larger than the size of an egg, but the speed is what causes the damage.

"The piece enters the atmosphere in a much larger size, but our atmosphere fries it up due to friction of the air as the piece falls through it," he said.  "Statistically, the chances of being struck by one are extremely small considering the size of the Earth versus the size of the object. This guy was in the right place at the right time (or wrong place, wrong time!)."

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