At 9:00 PM on 29 December 1980, near Huffman, Texas, Betty Cash was driving with her friend Vickie Landrum and Vickie’s seven-year-old grandson, Colby, when they saw a fiery object in the sky. They stopped the car, got out and watched it descend and hovered no more than 135 feet away from them, flames shooting down from its underside. Frightened, Vickie and Colby had clambered back into the car right away. By the time Betty joined them, the outside door handle was too hot to touch.
As the craft flew onwards, the trio drove behind it. That is when they noticed that it was being ‘escorted’ by 23 Chinook twin-rotor helicopters.
Shortly after arriving home, Betty developed a blinding headache, neck pains, skin-irritation and diarrhea. Her eyes swelled shut, she vomited uncontrollably and fluid-filled nodules appeared on her scalp. Four days later she was admitted to the burns unit at Parkway General Hospital in Houston.
Colby and Vickie, who had spent less time outside the car suffered from eye inflammation. Colby appeared to have ‘sunburn’ on his face, and both Vickie and Betty subsequently suffered from hair loss. Betty went on to develop breast cancer, although this may have been unrelated to their experience.
Passed from doctor to doctor (Betty’s medical bill totaled $10,000 by February of 1981), a definite diagnosis was not forthcoming, although most agreed that some form of radiation damage had occurred.
Cash and Landrum sued the US Government for twenty million dollars. Representatives from the Air Force, the Army, the Navy and NASA took to the stands and testified that they did not own or operate such an object and it was on these grounds that Judge Ross Sterling dismissed the case. Neither Betty Cash, nor the Landrums, nor independent witnesses who had seen the object and the Chinooks were allowed to testify.