On Wednesday, January 05, 2000, the National UFO Reporting Center received two telephone messages (at 0316 and 0351 hrs. Pacific Standard Time) from Officer Thomas “Ed” Barton, employed by the Lebanon, IL, Police Department. The messages apprised our Center that a UFO sighting had occurred in St. Clair County, Illinois, and in surrounding areas, at approximately 0410 hrs. (Central) earlier that morning.
Later the same morning, we were able to talk to Officer Barton, who reported to us the following:
At approximately 0410 hrs. (Central) on that morning, he overheard an announcement by the St. Clair (IL) Emergency Dispatch operator that a citizen had entered the Highland, IL, police station, and requested that an officer go outside and view a very peculiar object that was hovering nearby in the sky. The citizen had witnessed the bizarre looking object on his way to work, and he apparently refused to leave the station until a police officer had viewed the object with him.
Having heard the announcement about the incident over his radio, Officer Barton looked to the southeast from his location in Lebanon, and noticed two extremely bright white lights suspended in the sky, close to the horizon. The two lights were radiating so much light that the spectacle reminded Officer Barton of the Japanese "Rising Sun" symbol, used on the Japanese battle flag. A very short period of time later, the two large lights appeared to merge into one, and the illumination the object was radiating appeared to increase dramatically.
Officer Barton began driving south and east in attempt to approach the object. He turned his overhead flashers on, and at times was driving at 75-80 m.p.h. toward the object, which was still generally to the southeast of his position. After a short period of time, Officer Barton realized that the object appeared to be traveling toward him.
He stopped his vehicle, extinguished his overhead flashers, and rolled down the window on the passenger side of his vehicle. The object approached his location, and passed overhead at an estimated altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet, and within an estimated 100 feet lateral distance of his position on the ground. It was headed generally to the west, or northwest, at this time. The object was distinctly triangular in shape, with three white lights on the apices of the triangle, and it exhibited a “galaxy” of peculiar lights on its aft end, including white, hues of red or pink, and perhaps other colors, as well.
After passing overhead Officer Barton, the object suddenly turned to its left, without either banking or yawing apparently, it suddenly accelerated quite dramatically, and seemed to "streak" to the west, covering approximately 8 miles, the officer estimated, in approximately 3 seconds.
(Note: Officer Barton, in multiple telephone conversations with our organization, and during at least one radio broadcast, has emphasized how almost unbelievably quickly the object accelerated and moved a considerable distance to the southwest in just a few seconds. Its velocity was almost unimaginable, he reports. This is one aspect of the case that strongly suggest to us that the object almost certainly was not of human manufacture.)
He radioed St. Clair County Emergency Dispatch, apprising them that he had the object in sight, and advising them as to the direction it had moved, generally to the southwest. He recommended that dispatch contact units to the south and west of his position, e.g. Shiloh, Millstadt and Dupo, to have the officers there attempt to spot the object from their vantage points
Apparently at least one officer from Shiloh, IL, witnessed the object next, and two other officers, who have not come forward and who apparently do not wish to be identified, witnessed the object while they were standing in the cemetery of their town, as well.
An officer from the Millstadt Police Department, Officer Craig Stevens, with whom NUFORC also spoke, overheard the broadcast, and moved his cruiser to a dark part of that town to see if he could spot the object in the night sky. He quickly spotted the object to the west of his location, at approximately 45 degrees above the horizontal plane, and gauged its size as "huge." He estimated that it was "one or two stories" tall, and perhaps three stories long." It had several very bright lights on it.
St. Clair Dispatch requested that someone, if possible, attempt to get a photograph of the object. In response to that request, Officer Stevens removed polaroid-type camera stored in the trunk of his cruiser and quickly photographed the object. Because the outside temperature was low, approximately 18-20 degrees (F), neither the camera, nor the film functioned well, so the resolution of the photograph is not good.
After Officer Stevens had taken the photograph, the object appeared to move further to the west, moving toward Dupo, IL, Cahokia, IL, and St. Louis, MO. A Dupo police officer may have witnessed the object at that time.
In the final analysis, the police departments and communities involved in the incident include the following: Highland, Summerfield, Lebanon, Shiloh, Mascoutah, Millstadt, Dupo, and Cahokia, Illinois. The object was observed by officers from at least the following communities (in chronological sequence): Lebanon, Shiloh, (Other?), Millstadt, Dupo, and Cahokia (?).
Notes and Addenda:
1) Scott Air Force Base: At one point during the sighting, we estimate, the object was within 2-3 statute miles of Scott Air Force Base. However, an official spokesman for that base reportedly made an official statement to the effect that A) their tower was closed for approximately one hour during the time of the sighting; B) their base radar had been turned off for unspecified reasons during the same hour; and 3) none of their personnel was aware of the sighting, and none had seen the object.
2) NUFORC has received several unconfirmed reports that shortly after the incident, several of the police departments involved in the sighting, and several of the actual eyewitnesses to the incident, received visits from two, or more, individuals, who are active employees from the federal government. They requested that the parties involved in the incident curtail all their statements to the press. We are unable to confirm these reports at the time this Summary Statement is being prepared.
3) Alleged intercept by military aircraft: NUFORC has an unconfirmed report from a highly reliable source that jet fighters from a nearby Air National Guard unit may have been "scrambled" to take a look at the object. The nearest ANG unit we are aware of is the Missouri Air National Guard, which flies F-15's out of Lambert Field/St. Louis Airport. We have a second hand report that personnel at the airport witnessed a take-off of F-15's at approximately 0420 hrs. that morning. We have a second report from an individual who remembers having been awakened at approximately the time of the sighting by the sound of military jets taking off from Lambert Field.
4) Other witnesses: NUFORC has received a report from a woman who was driving to work that morning and allegedly witnessed the object. We are awaiting her written report. Other witnessed have asserted that they may have seen the object earlier to the north, near Lake Michigan. We have received no written reports of such sightings. We also have an unconfirmed report that the object was video taped during the early part of the sighting. This fact, too, is yet to be confirmed.
5) Media coverage: The incident has gained wide coverage in the print and electronic media, including the Art Bell radio talk show (“Coast to Coast”); the Jeff Rense talk show (“Sightings”); German public radio; many other radio programs across the country; The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper; Knight-Ridder publications; the Los Angeles Times; the Chicago Sun-Times; other publications that subscribe to, or carry releases from, the above media outlets.
6) Investigations: The incident continues to be investigated by members of the Mutual UFO Network (Illinois and Missouri chapter), by the National Institute for Discovery Science (Please see link to their website), Mrs. Barbara Becker of Columbia, MO, and perhaps by other independent individuals and organizations.
If anyone was witness to the object described above, we would be grateful if they would submit a brief written report, preferably using the Online Report Form
This report prepared by: Peter B. Davenport, Director, on Monday, January 10, 2000, at 2300 hrs. (Pacific). (Revised on January 22, 2000.)