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16-year-old driver tossed in Elgin tornado lucky to be alive

"Thankful to god for giving me another chance in this life," said Riley Leon.

ELGIN, Texas โ€” A video of a truck getting swept up in a tornado and driving away is making its rounds on social media. The video is a scene from a tornado that was confirmed to have touched down in Elgin, Texas, that evening. 

Elgin is a town about 40 minutes northeast of Austin. 

The shocking video was posted on Twitter by Brian Emfinger, a storm chaser, on March 21, the day a tornado outbreak ripped through Central Texas.

"I didn't feel it I didn't saw it," said Riley Leon. "Supposedly there were sirens going on but I didn't hear it." 

The 16-year-old said the tornado seemed to have come out of nowhere.

"When I landed on my wheels, my hands landed on my lap and I saw everything and I was like, probably nothing happened," said Leon. 

"I wasn't scared that much, but it was a shocking moment for me," he added.

But the teen pulled over on 290 and saw that his red Chevy truck was dented and scratched with the glass shattered. 

RELATED: Texas teen to receive new truck after tornado flipped it in viral video

"It broke me down seeing my hard work is gone," said Leon. "It is family-owned but my dad passed it to me but I paid him off." 

The truck has been in the family for a decade so when his brother, Jesus Arrayo, saw the video on Facebook, he recognized it immediately.

"It was really shocking, that's my little brother, you know, it was really scary," said Arrayo. 

Thankfully, he got out mostly uninjured. He said he only got several "little cuts."

"They broadcast the interview at school and that's when everybody found out," said Leon. "They started calling me Tornado Boy."

Leon said he was heading home from an interview at Whataburger when he got caught in the tornado. The good news: He starts his new job next week.

A new job, a life-changing experience and going viral all within a few days is a lot to take in for a teenager, but he has a philosophy.

"You have to keep pushing through them and hopefully better things come," said Leon. "Thankful to God for giving me another chance in this life."

According to a preliminary report released by the National Weather Service, the Elgin tornado was an EF-2 tornado with winds of 130 mph and a track length of 14 miles. 

The Elgin tornado left a trail of destruction. Many residents woke up Tuesday morning to see the damage for the first time in the daylight.  

A property owner in Elgin said when he looked around Tuesday morning, he was "devastated." He said during the peak of the storm Monday night, he, his wife and his dog hid in a closet as what sounded like a "freight train" blew through. They "watched the roof go off the top," but escaped without a scratch.

Credit: Bryce Newberry
A property owner in Elgin says Tuesday morning is the first time he's seeing his tornado-damaged property in daylight. He said he's "devastated." He says he and his wife hid in a closet as what sounded like a "freight train" blew through.

One Elgin man, 84-year-old Doyle Rogers, was sitting on his chair eating a sandwich when the storm happened. He escaped with his life by crawling through a crack between the door and the wall, which both caved in.  

โ€œIโ€™m kind of devastated. I mean, 50 years of hard work, gone,โ€ said Rogers. 

An EF-2 tornado also touched down in Round Rock and traveled 35 miles. An EF-1 tornado was recorded in Kingsbury, Texas.

Meanwhile, we are waiting on the NWS to report on two other tornadoes reported in Jarrell and Wimberley.


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