By Vicki Lyons
On December 5, 1997, Melanie Patshy, homemaker and mother of six, was driving four of her children (two sons and two daughters) and several other children home from a band concert in Navarre, Florida. They were traveling west on Highway 98 back to their home in Gulf Breeze. The time was approximately 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. Mrs. Patshy's 14 year old daughter, Elizabeth, noticed out the window over the trees some bright orange lights and called attention to them, but they disappeared before she could get a good look or get the attention of others in the vehicle.
Mrs. Patshy then turned her van onto Burgren Road, a dark and unlit side road which is a shortcut to Highway 399 near her Gulf Breeze home. When she turned onto the deserted road, the group suddenly saw a silver, oval craft with pulsing and rotating orange lights, about 10 feet over the treetops right beside the road. The orange lights were described by all witnesses as being stacked in a triangular configuration. The object was described as being at least as large as the big van Mrs. Patshy was driving.
Besides Elizabeth and Melanie Patshy, other witnesses were Catherine Patshy, age 6, Christopher Patshy, age 12, Kyle Patshy, age 8, Stephanie Williams, age 13, and Stephen Huber, age 13.
Mrs. Patshy stopped the van in the middle of the road, as there was no other traffic, and they all watched the craft just hovering over the trees at the roadside. Elizabeth started to get out of the van and go toward the object but was stopped by her mother. All witnesses stated that there was absolutely no sound coming from the craft.
A couple of the children in the van were becoming increasingly anxious and upset. Mrs. Patshy stated that, although she was unafraid and wanted to stay and watch the object, after a minute or so two of the children started crying and became very fearful. Mrs. Patshy felt that, since she had other children in the van besides her own who were upset, she should leave. She pulled away with the UFO still hovering over the trees and began traveling down Burgren Road.
As the children looked behind them, they noticed that the UFO was moving and was not getting any smaller. Mrs. Patshy said that it was then clear that the UFO was following their van. They never lost sight of the UFO until they turned off Burgren Road onto Highway 399. They then lost sight of the craft. Turning into their driveway, they all fled into the house. They later went back outside to see if they could see anything, but could not locate the craft.
When Mrs. Patshy's husband reported to work, he told co-workers about his family's sighting and found out that there was another woman who reportedly had a sighting of the same craft the same day. Project Awareness investigators in the Gulf Breeze area are trying to locate this witness to interview her.
Several members of the Patshy family sketched the object, and all drawings were consistent in their depiction of the triangular orange lights around the oval, gray object. One sketch by Christopher Patshy, age 12, is posted at the CNI News web site, http://www.cninews.com/CNI_New.html.
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