• 68°

Couple recalls Sunday afternoon fiery encounter

A local retired educator and his wife were among dozens ofpeople statewide who saw the heavens come to earth in a streak offire Sunday afternoon.

Former Brookhaven High School teacher John Ogden and his wife,Sally, who teaches at Lipsey Middle School, were traveling north onHighway 51 sometime around 1 p.m. that day when what was likely ameteor from the Gamma Normids meteor shower flashed across theMississippi sky. The split-second event was witnessed in manyportions of the state and prompted a rush of phone calls tonewsrooms and emergency services.

“We looked at the northwest part of the city, and to me it lookedlike something metal was falling, just came out of the sky,” saidJohn Ogden, who spotted the object while passing the BrookhavenRecreation Department headquarters in his car. “All of a sudden itjust burst into flames and left a curl of smoke.”

John Ogden said his first reaction was fear that a shuttle or otherspace vehicle had crashed and was reminded of the 1986 crash of theSpace Shuttle Challenger.

“I thought, ‘Oh Lord, I hope that’s not some of our people comingdown. If it’s a space vehicle, I hope nobody died,'” he said. “ThenI thought maybe a satellite fell to Earth.”

In her field of vision, Sally Ogden watched the object come fromthe top of the car’s windshield and streak forward before it caughtfire and quickly burned out. She said the object appeared to belong and slender, shaped like a rocket.

“As it came down, all of a sudden it burst into flames and then itlooked like an ember. The flames kind of left and you could see thered, like a piece of metal that got extremely hot,” Sallysaid.

Sally Ogden said the event was over almost as soon as it began. Shedidn’t realize how she felt until afterward.

“It was a really weird feeling when I saw it. I never said to John,‘I’m scared,’ but it did put some fear in me,” she said.