The driver of a red 2004 Chevrolet Silverado that went viral this week after being picked up and spun by a tornado in Elgin, Texas, before landing on its wheels and driving away says the event was “shocking” but that he wasn’t scared.
Riley Leon, a 16-year-old high-schooler told Fox7 Austin that he was on his way back from a job interview at a Whataburger 10 minutes away from his home when the accident happened and is now just happy to be alive.
“Seeing the video, I’m like that’s me in there and I could have not been here, but thank God I am,” said Leon. “That’s me inside of the truck spinning around. I survived that.”
BREAKING OVERNIGHT: Deadly tornado touches down leaving a path of destruction just outside of New [email protected]'s @WillCarr reports live. https://t.co/CO0V6m0xFj pic.twitter.com/noPGd9dqeT
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 23, 2022
The video, which has been shared widely, shows the red truck flipping onto its side, spinning, and finally flipping back onto its wheels. The video has gone viral because of Leon’s seeming calmness in a video shot by a storm chaser. Rather than stopping, he just kept driving, presumably away from the tornado.
Speaking to NBC affiliate KXAN, Commander Aaron Crim of the Elgin Police Department said that he saw Leon after the accident. The truck was, unsurprisingly, scratched along its sides and the side windows were blown out but, fortunately, Leon had only scrapes on his left arm and Crim said that an off-duty EMT had wrapped his hand in bandages.
“I asked if he was okay, and he shook his head and didn’t really answer me,” he said, adding that he hadn’t seen the actual accident at that point. “Now I understand why he had a blind stare. I’m sure he was scared to death.”
Being a teen, Leon tried to conceal what had happened from his family but the jig was up once they saw the truck. Since the video went viral, his mother has now seen it and she told Fox that she’s just grateful “to God that he protected him all this time.”
Leon, too, said he was grateful for being spared a worse outcome and that he’s looking forward to better things. He said he will be more careful when the weather is bad from now on.
“If there’s going to be bad weather, stay home,” Leon said. “No matter what the important thing is to you, stay home. Your life matters more.”