The Wayne City Car Chase Incident
Near Wayne City, Illinois
August 4, 1963

My NICAP team investigated this case right after it happened. It was the type of case being reported back then, the classic "UFO car chase". But there were other factors that made this case unique and possibly very significant. There was a concentration or "mini-flap" going on during that week in the midwest, in particular, southern Illinois and southern Indiana. Normally, when a case warrants, the Air Force has the "UFO officer" from a nearby AF base investigate a UFO sighting. In this case it would have been Scott AFB at Belleville, Illinois. Instead, they sent a team of three physicists from Project Blue Book, with the team leader being none other than the project Director, Lt. Col. Robert J. Friend. 

The case was a close encounter of the second kind, with strong evidence of E-M effects on the car radio, magnetic speedometer, and engine. Possible residual radiation detected on auto. Physiological effects on the witness were reported as the object passed in close proximity. Fear in going outside at night prevailed for weeks, if not months. The witness lost several pounds in a very short time.


Date of Sighting: August 4, 1963
Local Time & Time Zone: 11:30 PM
Location of Sighting: Wayne City, IL
County: Wayne
Number of Witnesses: Many
Principal Witness: Ronnie Austin, 18
Permission to Use Name: Covered by Press

A description of the circumstances surrounding the receipt of the initial UFO sighting information.
The sighting occurred on August 4th, 1963. Story appeared in the Evansville Courier on August 6th, along with full national. By the 10th of August it appeared that a major concentration was in progress. We had discounted the Austin case and had given it a low rating because it appeared too sensational in form and actually sounded like a helicopter. However, now it appeared that there might be something to it. The area in question was out of the investigation range of NICAP' s Indiana Unit's jurisdiction. However, there was no one in the area to check it out. 


NICAP Form 97 not used.  CR Form C or written report filed

Simple chronological log by date, time and place denoting the tasks the FI carried out during the irnestigation.
Aug 4.   Sunday. Sighting.

Aug 5.   Monday. WAYNE COUNTY PRESS article, June 5, 1963

 Aug 6.   Tuesday. EVANSVILLE PRESS article and press coverage all over U.S. 

Aug 10. Saturday. Investigation. Uphoff/Hill case UFOI at Wayne County Sheriff's Office, followed by trip to the Austin home at Keenes. Vehicle was not available for check, but we spoke with the boy's father, Orville Austin. 

Aug 11. Sunday. A typewritten narrative report was constructed from notes taken down during the onsite with Orville Austin. We also used a corrected press account, the Wayne County Press, to construct the narrative, since a lot of the data in the "outside" accounts was sketchy and sometimes inaccurate. 

Aug12.  Monday. WAYNE COUNTY PRESS article, June 12, 1963.

Aug 13. Tuesday. A telegram was sent to NICAP by our communications officer, James Catt. The contents described and refuted the AF explanation which appeared in newspapers all over the country the previous Sunday. 

Aug 14. Wednesday. Second onsite investigation. This time we checked the car, but were still not allowed to talk with the boy. His father answered all our questions. 

Aug 19. Monday. Specific questions were directed to Ronnie Austin to clarify press accounts and the interview Saturday with his father, Orville. This was our final attempt to get a signed statement. We received no reply. In this case it was obvious that the Austin's had had enough and were definitely sincere, but were not interested in whether anyone believed them or not. 

Aug 21. Wednesday. Complete report sent to NICAP. 

Aug 30. Friday. Letter from NICAP requested a map showing Ronnie' s movements and the object's movements relative to the car, etc. We were unable to construct a detailed map from our information. Later, when the Fate Magazine article came out on the S. Illinois Sightings, a detailed map was obtained. The article was entitled, "The Light That Chased A Car." It was written by Jeffrey G. Liss. Fate was able to get an interview along with the Air Force on that Saturday, August l0th, and some of the details we didn't get were in the Fate article. 

(On February 8, 1976 the case was updated arid submitted to MUFON and CUFOS. Form 3, 5 completed). 

A description of the interview and interrogation. This should include where and how the interview took place (mail, telephone, or onsite).

Philip Studler contacted the Fairfield Police Department that afternoon (8/10) arid they agreed to round up the witnesses. That evening, three members of Indiana Unit No.1 of NICAP (National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomenon), which included myself, James Catt, and Phillip StudIer, ventured to Fairfield. 

The Air Force investigation had taken place the same day, but prior to our arrival. At that time that time Col. Robert Friend was director of Project Blue Book. He, Captain Hector Quintinilla (later Blue Book head), and Sgt. Charles Sharp conducted the investigation. At one point they asked the Austin boy to wash his car. 

We arrived after dark, stopping first at the Wayne County Press office to pick up papers arid get info on the location of the police department, where the witnesses were to be interrogated. 

The Uphoff-Hill case was investigated first because they came to the police department as requested. The interrogation took place in the coffee shop of the PD. It was a taped interview. 

We then proceeded to the Austin home which was 15 miles west of Fairfield. It was getting late, between 9:30 & 10:00 PM when we arrived. 

The circumstances surrounding how, when, and where additional witnesses were located and any subsequent interviews and interrogations, including the Fl's personal impressions of the these witnesses and their home environment, interests, etc.

See press accounts and Fl notes. 

List of what natural or man-made objects were checked in an effort to identify the stimulus for the reported tRI Is attached to this report. The reasons for rejecting or suspecting each, as being the stimulus, should be clearly noted.


A list of the persons checked, their comments about the witness's character and their relationship to the witness. This section should include the Fl's impressions of the witness personality, credibility, etc.

The boy had been truly frightened by the experience. He had lost 18 pounds and was afraid to go outside at night. 

The result of the overall analysis of the data collected by the Fl.



7 - Unambiguous CE-2 (Apparently only one explanation). 


2- Multiple average witnesses. 


S5 - Highly strange; suggests intelligent guidance. 


P4 - Credible and sound. 
Great Significance 

Cross-reference list of all back-up material by date and location of sighting.

Comments Interrogating Official 
Investigator Notes, Narrative, 4-pages 
Map of Region 
Drawing of Area 
Form 97/Form 1 (Neither used) 
Form 3, Electrical/Magnetic Case 
Form 5, Psychological/Physiological Case 
News clippings 

It is disappointing that we were unable to obtain signed statements. However, we feel that the details of the case are accurate, based on what we certify to be direct information. Also, there were significant corrections made from the many press accounts by our conversation with the boy's father. To say the incident didn't happen or, that we had no "case"  (lack of signed reports, etc.) would not be justified. Everybody knew about it, including the United States Air Force. The fact that they would send anybody to S. Illinois because of some silly unidentified lights, even an intelligence officer from Scott AFB, would have indicated that something of significance was going on in S. Illinois. The fact that they sent, instead, a team of physicists from Project Blue Book at Wright-Patterson AFB, and the head of Blue Book, himself, seems to make an important point. 

The Austin sighting was witnessed by quite a few people. There were other good sightings that week. The Air Force concluded that Ronnie saw the planet Jupiter or the moon through haze, and the Uphoff/Hill case was explained as a refueling operation. The map on the Austin case illustrates that the object moved back and forth over a road,  something that neither Jupiter, nor the moon, can do. They also cannot produce E-M effects, shouldn't cause fear that would induce weight loss, nor produce radiation. With Jupiter, being almost in the same place every evening, it is not likely that the Austins' would have stuck to their story. Weeks afterward, Ronnie was afraid to go out at night to get a root beer with his friends. It could have been something to laugh about privately, if it had been just Jupiter or the moon, but it wasn't funny at all. 

Francis Ridge 
FI/Subcom Chairman 
Indiana Unit No.1, NICAP 


On February 8, 1976 the case was updated and submitted to MUFON and CUFOS. Form 3, 5 completed by FI. 

Francis Ridge 
FI/State Director 
MUFON Indiana 

 Austin Case Directory