'God gave me another chance': Teen who drove through Texas tornado describes scary moments

Riley Leon is happy to be alive after being overtaken by a tornado Monday in his infamous 2004 red Chevrolet Silverado

ELGIN, Texas – It’s a tale of a twister that will one day be told to generations to come.

If you didn’t know who 16-year-old Riley Leon was before today, you might recognize his infamous 2004 red Chevrolet Silverado.

"I never expected it to happen to me," Riley told FOX 7. 

The teen was driving home from a job interview Monday on Highway 290 in Elgin, Texas, when an EF-2 tornado blew his truck onto its side and spun it around multiple times before getting flipped back upright onto its wheels.

"I’m speechless," he said. "I'm speechless seeing how my truck got thrown like paper."

The National Weather Service said the tornado began roughly 9 miles southwest of Elgin and headed northeast. It damaged slab homes, mobile homes, trees, power lines and an electrical transmission tower.

Amazingly, Riley was able to drive away as the twister continued its path of destruction. His only injury was a cut on his elbow.

"Grateful I'm here. Grateful God gave me another chance," he said. 

The entire incident was captured on video by storm chaser Brian Emfinger of Live Storms Media.


Storm chaser Marcus Reynolds witnessed the teen’s wild ride and briefly chatted with him after the ordeal.

"He was just in kind of shock and processing everything," Reynolds told FOX Weather.

Reynolds let Riley use his phone to call his parents while he summoned a nearby paramedic to treat a cut on the teen’s arm.

"That's when I called my mom and my dad, and they're like are you OK? And I'm like, ‘yeah, but my truck is gone,’" Riley said.

The truck had been in Riley's family since before his sister was born. 

"That truck helped me and my dad get to where we are now," Riley said.

After Chevrolet heard about the story, the company decided to give the teen a new truck and will also donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross for recovery efforts.