The Portland Chase
|Date:||April 17, 1966|
|Location:||Portage County, Ohio, USA|
|Summary:||86-mile chase of UFO by two sheriff deputies|
At about 5 a.m. on April 17, 1966, two Portage County, Ohio, sheriff deputies Dale Spaur and Wilbur Neff stop to investigate an abandoned vehicle along a road near Ravenna. Spaur gets out of his car. When he hears a strange humming noise, he turns around and sees a giant UFO rising from behind the trees and hovering above them. When it came close, they could feel the heat coming off of it. The disc was no more than 150 feet from them and appeared to be 35 to 40 feet in diameter. A bright spotlight shone from the bottom of the object. They saw what looked like an antenna sticking out of one side.
Spaur and Neff are told to follow the object by Sgt. Henry Shoenfelt. Next follows an 86-mile chase at speeds of more than 100 mph that will take the deputies on a ride from Ohio to Pennsylvania. About the same time, police Chief Gerald Buchert, who was on patrol in nearby Mantua, hears the deputies' call. He races home to get his camera and snaps three photos of what he describes as "two table saucers put together." Along the way, Spaur and Neff were joined by police officer Wayne Huston, who followed in his own car.
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."
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." As soon as Spaur and Neff got close to it, the object would speed up.
By 6:15 a.m., Spaur had alerted dispatch about three fighter jets in pursuit of the aircraft. The officers could pick up chatter from the pilots on their police radios.
Hundreds of people also reported seeing the shiny saucer in the sky and heard the steady, faint humming sound.