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Local News

'It looked like a volleyball ... on fire,' Joliet resident describes spotting Michigan meteor

Space rock caused 2.0 magnitude earthquake in Michigan, U.S. Geological Service said

In this late Tuesday image made from dashcam video, a brightly lit object falls from the sky above a highway in the southern Michigan skyline.
In this late Tuesday image made from dashcam video, a brightly lit object falls from the sky above a highway in the southern Michigan skyline.

JOLIET – As Joliet resident Ken Whennen drove home from work in Channahon on Tuesday night, he noticed something on the horizon he couldn’t quite explain.

“It looked like a volleyball or basketball on fire,” Whennen said.

Experts from the American Meteor Society said they received hundreds of reports of a fireball Tuesday night, spotted mainly in Michigan, but also throughout Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Canada.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service Detroit tweeted, “the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor.”

Whennen was riding in the passenger seat, traveling east on Caton Farm Road. He had left work at the Joliet Exxon Mobil Refinery around 6:30 p.m.

He said he saw something fiery descending to the northeast.

“I was like, ‘Was that fireworks?’ ” Whennen said.

He slowed his car down to see if there were any children nearby shooting them off. When he didn’t see any children in the street, Whennen said the experience stuck with him.

The American Meteor Society announced a space rock likely penetrated deep into the Earth’s atmosphere before it broke apart. The meteor caused a
2.0 magnitude earthquake in Michigan, according to the U.S. Geological Service.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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