SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The driver of a red pickup truck caught in a Texas tornado on Monday has come forward after a video capturing the harrowing moment went viral.
Storm chaser Brian Emfinger caught the moment the Elgin tornado swept up the red truck, knocked it onto its side, spinning it around before it gets flipped back on its wheel and it drives off moments later.
Fox 7 in Austin spoke with the driver, now identified as 16-year-old Riley Leon, who said he is “speechless” the harrowing situation was caught on video.
Leon is an 11th-grade student who was driving home from a job interview at Whataburger when he got caught in the tornado.
“I had missed two U-turns and so I saw that U-turn and I’m like, I’m going to take this one ’cause … I can see it and I don’t see nothing strange around. And around right when I was going to take the U-turn, that’s when the tornado [came] and it lifted my truck. And that’s when the infamous video of me came out,” Leon recounted.
He said that the video shows him driving off, but he didn’t go too far. Leon said he wanted to move the truck out of the roadway to avoid causing any accidents. The teen said he sustained some minor injuries, but “nothing huge.”
The 16-year-old said another person drove up to him a few minutes later and helped him get into contact with his parents.
“He’s like are you OK? I’m like yes, I’m OK, but I lost my phone,” Leon told Fox 7. “He was like you want to borrow my phone and call your parents … and that’s when I called my mom and my dad. They’re like are you OK? And I’m like yeah but my truck’s gone.”
The red pickup truck has reportedly been in the teen’s family for many years and Leon said it’s sad to see it go.
He said the biggest takeaway is to pay attention to weather alerts and to stay home when the weather gets bad.
“[I’m] grateful God gave me another chance because better things are going to come in the future. Never, never let small things bring you down, ’cause bigger things going to come.