Kevin Reece, KHOU 11 News
It's the story of Brazoria County Deputy Bob Goode and Chief Deputy Billy Edwin McCoy. It was September 3, 1965.
McCoy's son Kevin was eight years old at the time.
"I remember the excitement," he said. "Dad said what he remembered more than anything is he said it just absolutely scared the hell out of them."
The story, heavily detailed in Brazoria County lore but also in government documents, goes something like this. It was 11 p.m. The deputies were driving from Damon to West Columbia together in a Brazoria patrol interceptor. They saw mysterious blue and purple lights on the horizon. The lights eventually grew so close and so intense they filled the inside of their squad car. And they swore they saw some form of spaceship a football field long. Both men would eventually draw almost identical sketches of the object for investigators to see.
"They were just scared to death whenever this thing came and they were screaming, go, go get out of here," said Kevin McCoy who said his dad was absolutely convinced what he saw was real.
"He firmly from the time he saw it to the day he died it was real, no doubt," said McCoy.
We missed our chance to talk to the men about the UFO. Goode was 50 years old at the time of the unexplained event almost 50 years ago. Billy McCoy, at 86, died just last year.
But at the Brazoria County Historical Museum, Billy McCoy has his own file. And it includes his own voice: a tape recording from 1985. The two hour interview, 20 years after the UFO incident, was part of an oral history program by the museum to document and record the experiences of some of its noted residents.
McCoy discusses his life in Brazoria County and his career as a chief deputy and as a businessman. And several pages of the transcript are devoted to the UFO encounter of 1965.
"That thing was right on top us," McCoy told the interviewer. "The inside of our car was totally illuminated with that purple light."
"Of course there was quite a bit of excitement in our car, quite a bit of hollering and yelling. Some words there that probably shouldn't be repeated on this tape," he said with a laugh. "Bob, he showered down on the gas and we took off from there just as fast as that police interceptor would go. I could see it move and it went straight back at a much slower speed then what it came up on us and it just, when it got back over in the area of the Bernard River it just shot straight up in the air and disappeared."
"If anyone ever sees what we saw that night, there won't ever be any question in your mind about something being there. It's so vivid in my mind, I think I could live to be 150 and I'd never forget it!"
We asked UFO investigator Chuck Stansburge, with the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) what he thought of the Brazoria incident. Stansburge, also a former law enforcement officer in Colorado now retired and living in Rosenberg, says the Brazoria deputies had to deal with a skeptical government, just like every other person in the more than 12,000 UFO sightings investigated for Project Blue Book: program designed to document UFO sightings, but disprove them as lights reflecting on fog or figments of everyone's imagination, and thereby calm a nervous public in the wake of the Roswell incident and the 1950's and 60's fears of communist Russia.
"From what I've read they seem pretty adamant about what took place," said Stansburge of the deputies. "Too many people in this world know that they (UFO's) exist. And yet the governments, some of the governments, especially ours, say no they don't exist."
In that archived audio interview, Billy McCoy talked about that too.
"There's not a thing that I have said was a figment of anybody's imagination, is not a concocted story any extent. The things happened just as I said they happened. I don't believe it could possibly be anything from this earth."
And what makes the story live on these 50 years later is that both men were well-respected. McCoy was a successful high school athlete, a Golden Gloves boxer, a chief deputy, a businessman who kept telling his tale and taking on any critics who might doubt his honesty.
"I think that he was cool with it. I think that he firmly believed it. And any time anyone brought it up he loved talking about it," said McCoy's son Kevin. "He never questioned himself, he never said maybe. I never heard him say anything other than absolutely we saw something."
And it's something they still talk about in Brazoria County. And in a way, Billy McCoy still talks about too – to anyone still willing to listen.