Texas teen gifted new truck after escaping tornado’s wrath

The community of Granger, Texas, saw widespread damage from a March 21 tornado that officials...
The community of Granger, Texas, saw widespread damage from a March 21 tornado that officials say traveled at least 24 miles from Round Rock. Dozens of homes were leveled.(Source: KEYE via CNN)
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 5:13 AM CDT
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ELGIN, Texas (KWTX/Gray News) - The Texas teen seen escaping the wrath of a tornado in his red Chevrolet pickup truck has been gifted a new truck after his was totaled.

Riley Leon, 16, was on his way home from an interview at Whataburger on Monday afternoon when he crossed paths with the tornado that struck the Elgin and Round Rock areas, KWTX reports. His truck was flipped onto its driver’s side, as seen in a video that has since gone viral.

The teen’s truck was totaled in the incident, but he survived.

Chevrolet announced that Leon and his family would be given a 2022 red Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT All Star Edition on Saturday at the Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet dealership in Fort Worth.

“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,” said the company in a Facebook post.

Chevy Cares is also donating $50,000 to help storm recovery efforts.

A GoFundMe set up to help Leon after the incident has raised more than $40,000. According to the site, the teenager has a fractured back and is experiencing body aches and severe back pain.

His family does not have health insurance. They are waiting for doctors to determine if Leon needs surgery and/or therapy.

“He is a lovely, bright student making plans to graduate next year and could genuinely use some love from our community and anyone else who may have viewed this video and prayed for the passenger,” wrote the fundraiser’s organizer, Bianca Jaimes.

She said she knows Leon from her work at IDEA Rundberg, a charter school in Austin. CNN reports she is the campus nurse.

In addition, Leon is expected to start his new job at Whataburger on Monday, according to CNN.

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