Stalled Vehicles And Landed Spacecrafts: The 1957 Levelland UFO Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
November 20, 2023
Estimated Reading Time
11 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing and detailed UFO encounters unfolded in the fall of 1957 in Levelland, Texas, when multiple witnesses reported the presence of a UFO over the 10,000-population town to police, with many of them reporting direct interference with their cars. What’s more, several of the witnesses even reported the bizarre objects had landed in the middle of the road, making the events of that evening far from just a “lights in the sky” sighting.

The Levelland UFO incident is perhaps one of the most important of its era, not least as it was documented by the local police as it happened, with several officers even viewing the object for themselves, corroborating the sightings reported by the multiple residents of the region and offering the case a suggestion of credibility.

As well as the police files on the encounter, the incident was also investigated as part of Project Blue Book, perhaps aiding in its preservation down the decades, meaning it can still be studied today by UFO researchers and enthusiasts almost three-quarters of a century after it took place. And while there are still many unanswered questions about the case, that something truly strange took place that night in this small Texan town is surely not in question.

The First Of Many Calls To The Police Switchboard

It was around 11 pm on the evening of November 2nd, 1957 when police officer A J Fowler was on desk duty at the Levelland Police Station and he received the first of several shocking reports from the public. [1] This first call came from Pedro Saucedo, who along with his friend, Joe Salaz, had been driving their pick-up truck around four miles west of the town when they noticed a brightly glowing cigar-shaped object overhead. And what’s more, this strange craft was seemingly headed in their direction.

Saucedo, who was seemingly clearly spooked by what had just transpired, would relay to Fowler that the object had continued its approach and that as it came nearer, the truck’s engine had faltered and eventually cut out, forcing their vehicle to a stop. At the same time, the headlights also went dead. Intrigued, he stepped out of the vehicle in order to get a better look at this apparent otherworldly vehicle.

Saucedo would later write an official statement of the incident [2] in which he would state that the object’s movement was very rapid and that he could feel significant heat coming from it. Furthermore, he noticed that the object was torpedo-shaped and appeared to be a combination of yellow and white. He estimated that it was around 200 feet long and moved somewhere in the region of 600 to 800 miles per hour.

The object passed directly over the top of them at a relatively low altitude. As it moved into the distance, the headlights suddenly came to life. When Saucedo climbed back into the driver’s seat, he found that the engine started on the first try with no problems. From there, Saucedo and Salaz drove to the town of Whiteface where they found a phone booth and immediately made the report to Fowler.

Although he listened to Saucedo’s report in full, privately Fowler dismissed the report, feeling certain that the men had been drinking or it was some kind of bizarre hoax call, or both. However, less than an hour later, another call would come into the switchboard, with the caller offering remarkably similar details.

Reports Of A Landed Craft In The Middle Of The Road

At around 11:45 pm Fowler took another call at the desk from a person who is only identified as Mr. W, who claimed he had been driving around four miles east of Levelland in the town of Whitharral, which is, incidentally, in the direction that Saucedo claimed the object had disappeared to following his sighting.

According to Mr. W, not only did he see a “brilliantly lit egg-shaped object” while driving, but the object sat right in the middle of the road. Further similar to Saucedo’s description, Mr. W would offer that the object was at least 200 feet in length, and as he approached it, his car engine and headlights failed.

Following the car coming to a stop, Mr. W exited the vehicle and cautiously edged toward the landed craft. He stated that the glow from it lit the surrounding area and appeared like a “large neon light”. After he had taken only several steps toward it, the object rose into the air to an approximate altitude of around 200 feet before disappearing into the distance. Just like Saucedo, the moment it disappeared, the headlights came back on and the car’s engine started with no problems.

After it had disappeared, Mr. W sped to the nearest phone booth in order to report the sighting. At this point, Fowler was now beginning to suspect that perhaps something strange was traversing the skies of the town. And 15 minutes later, he had even further reason to think so.

Another Car Brought To A Stop

It was around midnight when Fowler received the third phone call of the night reporting something strange traveling overhead. Although the man didn’t give his name, he claimed he was driving on a quiet road just over 10 miles to the north of Levelland when he saw a strange aerial object simply sitting in the middle of the road.

The closer he got to the curious craft; his engine began to sputter before finally cutting out. At the same time, his headlights also failed. The man remained in his car watching the object for any signs of activity. Then, it calmly rose into the air and disappeared into the distance.

Just like the previous witnesses, upon it disappearing, the car’s headlights came back on and its engine was able to be restarted. And just like the previous witnesses, so convinced was the man that he had witnessed something very strange and very real, he immediately made his way to the nearest payphone in order to make a report of the encounter.

Although Fowler wasn’t aware of it until the following day, another incident was unfolding with what would appear to be the same craft only minutes later.

A Blue-Green Craft Made From “Aluminum-Like Material!”

Less than 10 minutes later, another encounter unfolded in the same location as the previous caller. The witness this time was a 19-year-old college freshman from Texas Tech University. He claimed he had been driving along the road when his car engine suddenly cut out and his car headlights died.

The car rolled to a stop and the student got out and pulled up the hood in an attempt to see what the problem was. He was, however, unable to see anything that might have caused the problem, and pulled the hood back down. It was as he was making his way back to the car that he noticed an “oval-shaped object” that had a flat underside in the middle of the road ahead of him.

He further claimed that the object emitted a blue-green glow and that it was approximately 125 feet long, at least from his perspective. He also offered that he could see no markings or writing of any kind on the exterior of the craft and that the exterior itself appeared to be of an “aluminum-like material”.

Realizing he was viewing something completely out of the ordinary, the young man quickly got back inside the car and began attempting to start the engine, which failed to turn over. He gave up his attempts, and sat as quietly as he could, watching the strange object. After several minutes, it rose “almost straight up” into the air and vanished “in a split instant”. Like the other witnesses, the car’s headlights and engine worked as normal the instant the craft disappeared.

The student later stated that he told no one of the sighting for “fear of public ridicule”. However, when he learned of the many other sightings the following day, he finally made a report to the Sheriff’s office.

The evening’s events, however, were not over yet.

“Something Odd Is Going On!”

Around a quarter past midnight, Fowler took another call at the desk. The man, who didn’t give his name, said he was calling from a phone booth around nine miles north of Levelland (around a mile south of Texas Tech student’s sighting only minutes earlier). Like the previous witnesses, he reported that he was driving along the road when he noticed a strange, glowing object simply sitting in the middle of the road ahead of him.

Just like the previous witnesses, he claimed that as his car got closer to the object he began to experience engine trouble, with the headlights and engine eventually cutting out completely.

He remained in his car, watching the bizarre display in front of him. Then, just like previous reports, he offered that the craft suddenly rose straight up into the air. It came to a brief stop around 300 feet from the ground, at which point, the light on or inside it went out and the craft simply vanished. Once more, as soon as it did so, the car headlights came back on and the witness was able to start the car’s engine.

At this point, Fowler realized that not only was something strange being seen by multiple residents around the town, but that the craft was something truly out of the ordinary. He radioed out to units already on patrol in and around the town, informing them that “something odd was going on”, and asking them to actively search for this strange and mysterious aerial vehicle. Incidentally, two of the officers did report seeing strange lights in the distance, but none of the units got as close as the previous witnesses.

Around half an hour later, though, yet another encounter unfolded.

An Object Landing “Softly” In The Road

At around 45 minutes past midnight, a local man was driving to the west of Levelland, roughly in the same location as the first report of the evening. The unnamed man claimed to have seen an orange-glowing object, approximately a mile away from his location.

The man continued to watch as the object came closer and closer, eventually landing “softly” in the middle of the road approximately a quarter of a mile from him. It was shortly after it touched down on the road that the engine of his truck began to cut out, eventually dying completely along with his headlights. The truck came to a stop and the witness remained in the driver’s seat watching the scene ahead of him.

Interestingly, he stated that while the object had clearly glowed a bright orange color while it was in motion, now that it was on the ground, it had a blue-green look to it. Not only is this similar to how the Texas Tech student described it, but the notion of an object’s color having a connection to its movement and speed thereof is one that surfaces often in other UFO reports.

After several minutes, the object rose calmly but quickly into the air and then disappeared into the distance. Like the other sightings, the truck headlights immediately came back on the moment the craft had vanished and the engine started with no problems whatsoever.

Although the witness didn’t report the incident straight away, they did speak to Fowler the following day and made a full report then. Around half an hour after this incident had taken place, though, Fowler did receive another call from a concerned citizen.

Truck Driver Witnesses Object Before He “Got The Hell Out Of There!”

At around 1:15 am Fowler took a call from a clearly shaken and frightened man who said he was a truck driver and was calling from Waco, Texas. He claimed that a little while earlier he had been on the Oklahoma Flat Road to the northeast of Levelland when his headlights and engine suddenly cut out without warning or apparent reason.

When he looked ahead of him, at a distance of around 200 feet, he was shocked to see a “brilliant, glowing egg-shaped object” in the middle of the road. Like other witnesses, he claimed the object glowed brightly like a “neon sign” and that it was approximately 200 feet in length.

He watched the object for several moments before curiosity got the better of him and he opened the door and stepped down from the cabin. However, before he had even taken a step toward the object, it rose into the air “straight up with a roar and streaked away”.

As soon as the object disappeared, the truck’s lights and engine surged back to life, with the witness stating to Fowler that at that point he “got the hell out of there”.

In between these calls, Fowler regularly kept his patrolling officers updated, informing them of each report and the details expressed in them. And by this point, there were several patrols in various parts of the region. And it wasn’t long before several of the officers had their own encounters with this mysterious object.

“A Brilliant Red Sunset Across The Highway!”

Two of these patrolling officers were Sherrif Clem and Deputy Pat McCulloch, who was driving along the Oklahoma Flat Road around five miles from Levelland at around 1:30 am when they noticed an oval-shaped object that appeared “like a brilliant red sunset across the highway”.

They estimated the glowing object was around 1000 feet from their vehicle when they first noticed it, and it “lit up the whole pavement” in front of them. The two men didn’t manage to take their car close enough to the object before it disappeared, and as such, suffered no ill-affects to their vehicle.

Two other officers, Patrolmen, Lee Hargrove, and Floyd Gavin were following behind Clem and McCulloch’s car at a distance of several miles. Hargrove wrote in his report that as they were driving along the Oklahoma Flat Road they “saw a strange-looking flash” that seemed to come from around a mile to a mile and a half ahead of them. He further offered that this flash went from “east to west and appeared to be close to the ground”.

Another officer out that evening was Constable Lloyd Ballen. He reported seeing a similar flash-like object that was “traveling so fast that it appeared only as a flash of light moving from east to west”. Yet another witness out on the roads that night was Levelland Fire Marshall, Ray Jones, who had taken to his vehicle to aid in the search for the strange craft. He later recalled that as he was approaching the Oklahoma Flat Road, a “streak of light” zipped past ahead of him. Although his lights dimmed and his engine “sputtered”, the power didn’t cut out.

“Everybody Who Called Was Very Excited!”

Whatever the object was, these last sightings reported by the officers and Fire Marshall Jones brought the events to a close and appeared to suggest that the object had moved away from the area, and had done so at great speed.

In total, Fowler reported that he received no less than 15 calls from people reporting what would appear to be the same vehicle, adding that “everybody who called was very excited”. Indeed, while he, at first, dismissed the first call of the evening, he was now more than certain that something truly strange had taken place in and around Levelland the previous evening.

In his write-up and evaluation of the incident a decade and a half later, Dr. Allen Hynek offered that there were just too many coincidences surrounding the wealth of sightings that evening to dismiss them as the official explanation had done. He would state that even if mass hysteria was reasonable to suggest in this case, it wouldn’t account for the stopped cars and electrical interference. Furthermore, at least to the best of anyone’s knowledge, the witnesses had their encounters independently of each other and with no knowledge of the accounts of any of the others.

Hynek also suggested that the investigation by Project Blue Book was far from thorough, placing just one investigator on the case who, at least in his opinion, only spoke to some of the witnesses with no follow-up. In short, the military appeared to not be interested in truly investigating the sightings, despite the wealth of information and witnesses. Indeed, this alone should cause us to ask why that might have been.

A Truly Intriguing Case With More Answers To Find

There is little doubt that whatever the object might have been, the residents in and around the town of Levelland that fall night in November 1957 certainly saw something. The notion of a hoax or mis-sightings is simply not likely or even realistic under these circumstances. Nor is the suggestion that the entire episode was down to some kind of mass hallucination, which, while already unlikely, would not explain the multiple failures of car engines and headlights.

It is perhaps interesting to think what might have happened if the incident had unfolded in 2017 instead of 1957. Obviously, at the time of the sighting, mobile phones were yet to hit the market so none of the witnesses were able to photograph the craft and all had to wait, albeit several minutes, to report the sighting due to having to locate a public payphone. Had the incident taken place in our contemporary era, we might assume that several pictures would have been captured, perhaps even video footage. And the reports, if they had been made, would likely have been made as the object was in the vicinity.

Ultimately, the encounter remains of immense interest to UFO researchers and enthusiasts today three-quarters of a century later. And will almost certainly prove to be a key, if small, piece of the UFO and alien puzzle that we are collectively attempting to put together.

The video below examines this fascinating case a little further.


1 The Levelland, Texas Landings – 1957, UFO Casebook
2 The Levelland Sightings, Texas, UFO Evidence

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

Fact Checking/Disclaimer

Fact Checking

The stories, accounts, and discussions in this article may go against currently accepted science and common beliefs. The details included in the article are based on the reports, accounts and documentation available as provided by witnesses and publications - sources/references are published above.

We do not aim to prove nor disprove any of the theories, cases, or reports.  You should read this article with an open mind and come to a conclusion yourself.  Our motto always is, "you make up your own mind".  Read more about how we fact-check content here.

Copyright & Republishing Policy

The entire article and the contents within are published by, wholly-owned and copyright of UFO Insight.  The author does not own the rights to this content. 

You may republish short quotes from this article with a reference back to the original UFO Insight article here as the source. You may not republish the article in its entirety.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and join our subscribers. Receive the latest articles directly in your inbox weekly.

If you don't like what you read, you can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *