Famous 86-Mile UFO Chase in 1966 Still Defies Air Force ‘Explanation’
October 18, 2018 (timesonline.com)
• Early in the morning of April 17, 1966, a pair of Portage County, Ohio, sheriff deputies had stop to investigate an abandoned vehicle on the side of the road. Suddenly, Deputies Dale Spaur and Wilbur “Barney” Neff heard a humming sound and looked around to see a giant UFO rising from behind some trees and then hovering over them with a bright light surrounding them.
• The deputies described the bright UFO as being about 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall. “The lines of the object were very distinct,” Spaur later told reporters. “Somebody had control over it. It wasn’t just floating around. It [could] maneuver.”
• The UFO flew eastward and the deputies followed in their patrol car. Meanwhile, Police Chief Gerald Buchert was traveling in his patrol car nearby and heard their radio call. He raced home to get his camera and snapped three photos of what he described as “two table saucers put together.” (see image above of the two deputies and the police chief, and a photo below of spacecraft taken by Buchart)
• The deputies chased the UFO for 86 miles from Ohio into Pennsylvania at speeds of more than 100 mph. When the deputies’ patrol car had to slow down for bridges, the UFO seemed to slow down to wait for them, and then it would speed up again with the patrol car. They stopped at a gas station where they met another policeman, Frank Panzanella. Then they saw three fighter jets in pursuit, and the UFO ‘shot straight out of sight’.
• Hundreds of people also reported seeing the shiny saucer in the sky and heard the steady, faint humming sound.
• The director of Project Blue Book at the time, Maj. Hector Quintanilla, came down from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton to investigate. Quintanilla first said that the UFO they saw was actually a satellite. Then he said it was the planet Venus. Quintanilla also stated that radar hadn’t indicated anything peculiar, and that no fighter jets had been dispatched. Finally, he claimed that Buchert’s photos were grainy and inconclusive. Case closed.
• The officers were forced to recant their stories and to refuse to discuss it. Deputy Spaur, however, never backed down from believing he saw a UFO. As a result, he lost his job and his marriage. Spaur later said, “If I could change all that I have done in my life, I would change just one thing. And that would be the night we chased that damn thing. That saucer.”
It’s 5 a.m. April 17, 1966, when two Portage County, Ohio, sheriff deputies stop to investigate an abandoned vehicle along a road near Ravenna.
Deputy Dale Spaur gets out of his car, while Wilbur “Barney” Neff remains in his.
“He hears this strange humming noise, so he turns around and sees this giant UFO,” said Brian Seech, co-founder of the Center for Unexplained Events. The unidentified flying object rises from behind the trees and hovers above them, the ground drenched in bright light.
What transpires next will be an 86-mile chase at speeds of more than 100 mph that will take the deputies — and a few more — on a harrowing ride from Ohio to Pennsylvania.
For law enforcement officers, the bizarre trek won’t end in Conway, Pa. It will follow them for the rest of their lives. This close encounter marks the fourth installment of The Times video series, The Parajournal, by award-winning videographer Gwen Titley.
Initially instructed by their dispatcher to shoot the object, Spaur and Neff are told to stand down by Sgt. Henry Shoenfelt who wonders if the two have found a government weather balloon. About the same time, police Chief Gerald Buchert, who was on patrol in nearby Mantua, hears the deputies’ call about lights in the sky. He races home to get his camera and snaps three photos of what he describes as “two table saucers put together.”
When the UFO zips away toward the east, Spaur and Neff give chase.
Spaur later would say that from the ground, the object looked like the head of a flashlight, about 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall.
“The lines of the object were very distinct,” he told reporters. “Somebody had control over it. It wasn’t just floating around. It can maneuver.”
Seech said the chase slowed down near Rochester. The cars got “tangled up in a mess of bridges,” according to Spaur.
Spaur would later explain, “When I came out from under the bridge, it came down and waited for us. Just as though it knew these two cars were following it.”
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