It was just another night in northeast Ohio until the calls came in about lights in the sky.
Roy Anne Rudolph was fielding the usual 9-1-1 calls at the dispatch office for Liberty Township Police on the night of December 14, 1994, when she received a couple of strange calls. People were seeing something hovering in the sky over a field just off Sampson Drive (north of Youngstown, Ohio). After the fourth or fifth call came through around midnight, she started to wonder if these people were serious or just the usual drunk dialers. In fact, she had a difficult time taking it seriously. Was there a UFO in her neck of the woods?
“If it was [a UFO], what the hell would it be coming to Liberty for?” she joked over the radio. “There’s no intelligent life in Liberty.”
Eager to quiet the few people who phoned the police in panic, Rudolph called Sergeant Toby Meloro to drive over there, poke around, and come back with a logical explanation. What followed was one of the strangest events in the history of Liberty.
Meloro arrived on Sampson Drive and saw the light in question. He radioed back that he was going to get a better look at it. Suddenly and without explanation, his patrol car went dead. Even the CB radio was out, which caused a bit of panic at dispatch. At that moment, the object in the sky shined a blinding light down on his vehicle. Meloro emerged from his cruiser and watched the silent craft above him. After a short time, the unknown object moved away and his car came back to life. After collecting his thoughts, he phoned Rudolph to explain what he saw.
It was an immense circular craft, about the size of a football field, with an intense bright light at the center. He had to shield his eyes with his hand to get a decent look at it. There were other colors visible as well. Meloro saw either blur or green; other callers mentioned blue or purple. The bright light the officer witnessed may have been what terrified residents described as the tail flame of a jet.
At that point, Sergeant Meloro decided to follow the craft and not let it get out of sight. He told Rudolph back at dispatch where it was headed as it became more and more of a challenge to follow its route. Soon, officers from the nearby townships of Brookfield, Hubbard, and Hartford were calling in with sightings. Lieutenant James Baker of Brookfield Township Police grabbed a pair of binoculars and climbed a radio tower for a better look. He saw not one but three “structures”, flashing red, blue, green, and yellow light. In total, approximately 14 police and sheriffs in Trumbull County saw the craft(s) that night. And some did more than that; they went after it.
Meloro and several other officers from neighboring townships took chase. They followed the lights in the sky for several hours as it headed east toward the Pennsylvania border. Dispatcher Roy Anne Rudolph – not wanting to miss out – was picked up by an officer on his way to State Route 82 to head out in pursuit. Shortly after the band of officers crossed into Pennsylvania, the craft took off at an incredible speed and vanished out of sight.
What as it? Could it have been an aircraft? Rudolph called the FAA not long after sightings began to find any plausible explanation. She was told there was no object on radar in her area. NASA was also contacted after the incident, but again, there was no explanation. It’s as if whatever these people were seeing wasn’t actually there… or (at least) that no one was allowed to say what it was.
The following is a portion of the actual recording from Liberty Township Police dispatch center on that night. In it, Dispatcher Rudolph talks to a radar operator in Youngstown and other officers as the pursuit gets underway.
Trumbull County is home to two military installations – the Ravenna Arsenal (then called the Ravenna Training and Logistics Site for the Ohio Army National Guard) and Youngstown Air Reserve Station – and seeing military aircraft is quite common even today. Rumors of a top secret military aircraft from the Youngstown station still circulate. Other people claim it was just a meteor or star, but would that many police officers really be foolish enough to chase a shooting star for miles?
Whatever lit up homes on Sampson Drive that night is still a mystery. For fear of sounding insane, most of the people involved that night dismiss it and avoid the subject. Somehow, the incident –known by some as the “Trumbull County Disturbance” – missed the local newspapers entirely and wasn’t brought to light until two years later. But this isn’t the only incident of unknown aircraft in the region. More odd lights were reported shortly before the December 14th sighting. Another object was witnessed in the skies over Ravenna in 1966. Some 211 reports from across the state were reported to MUFON in the past six years alone. This should be no surprise to anyone since Ohio is home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where some ufologists insist the alien bodies from the Roswell crash were sent for examination and storage.