16-year-old high school junior Riley Leon knows just how lucky he is to be alive after driving his red truck through a tornado in Elgin, Texas on his way home from a job interview.
“Seeing the video, I’m like, ‘That’s me in there.’ And I could have not been here, but thank God I am,” Riley, who attends IDEA Rundberg High School in Austin, told Fox7 of his ordeal in his now-iconic red truck.
The high schooler explained that he was on his way home from a job interview at Whataburger in Elgin, just 10 minutes from his house, when things got crazy. “Right when I was going to take the U-turn, that’s when the tornado came and lifted my truck,” he recalled.
Video shot by storm chaser Brian Emfinger shows Riley’s Chevy pickup truck being tossed by the tornado before it is tossed back up on all four tires and the high schooler hauls himself out of danger.
Not wanting to freak out his family, Riley chose to not provide them with the full details, but his mother knew it was his truck. “I can’t imagine him being in there and coming out with only scratches on him,” his mother, Elvia Leon Martinez, said of the incident.
Riley, who is still shook up from the experience, isn’t trying to act as if this was just some incident that he’ll quickly forget.
“Everyone thinks I’m an adult, but, in reality I’m a minor. A 16-year-old that still goes to school,” he told Fox7.
Just a kid lucky to be alive after a moment that will go down in storm history across Texas.