June 29, 2022



Teen from viral tornado video will get new truck from dealership

2 min read

A Central Texas teen at the center of a viral video of a red truck getting tossed around as it drove through a treacherous tornado this week is being gifted a brand new ride. Fort Worth-based Bruce Lowrie Chevy announced Thursday that is donating a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado to the driver, 16-year-old Riley Leon, to replace the one damaged in the tornado.

“We are thankful Riley is safe, commend his driving skills during a frightening situation and our hearts are with other families in Texas that have been affected by these storms,” the dealership said in a statement.

In the 30-second video posted by storm chaser Brian Emfinger, which has been viewed more than six million times, Leon’s Silverado is pushed on its side and spins before bouncing back up and driving away as debris swirls around it. The 11th grader was on his way home from an interview Monday at Whataburger on State Highway 290 in Elgin, when he was caught up in the twister, he told NBC 5.

Leon explained that while it appeared he was just driving off, he was actually looking for a safe place to pull over. “I honestly didn’t know what to do, to grab onto the steering wheel or to start praying,” the 11th grader said. “I’m very, very blessed to live another day.”

The tornado that hit Elgin was a category EF-2, according to a preliminary report released by the National Weather Service. Such storms have winds between 111-135 mph and can cause considerable damage.

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While Leon thought he only suffered some scratches and bruises, his family and his teacher announced Thursday that the teen is now experiencing severe back pain from a back fracture. The family does not have health insurance and has started a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.

“They will have to wait and see if he will need back surgery and may also need future therapy,” says a statement on the GoFundMe. As of Friday, the page has raised more than $28,000.

Leon’s truck—which was passed on to him by his father—was left dented and scratched in the process. “It broke me down seeing my hard work is gone,” Leon told WFAA-TV. The teen is scheduled to pick up the new truck with his family on Saturday. 

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