Runaway Teen Takes a 50-Mile Ride on the Back of a Semi Truck Cab

And who says today's kids don't like to play outside?

Fox 59

A runaway teen is lucky to be alive this week after he was founding hitching a ride on the tiny, exposed catwalk between a semi truck and trailer at a weigh station in Indiana on Tuesday morning, according to the Indiana State Police.

Fox 59 News reports the grimy adventure began before dawn in Kentucky, where investigators say the unnamed 17-year-old from Ohio climbed on board the semi without the driver's knowledge as it was parked at a truck stop outside Louisville. He rode for over 50 miles on the small maintenance platform perched on the chassis behind the cab, enduring 40-degree temperatures in nothing but a hooded sweatshirt.

It may seem secure enough back there, but the teen could have easily slipped and fallen under the wheels at highway speed at any given point along the way, not to mention what would happen if the semi was involved in an accident. At around 9 a.m., a worker at a southern Indiana weigh station spotted the stowaway and alerted a nearby state police officer, who stopped the truck at the end of the on-ramp just as it was about to get back on the highway.

"We were just running trucks through like we do every day just weighing them," State Police Motor Carrier Inspector Mike Buckly told Fox 59 News. "And I happened to catch a face coming out behind one of the trucks on the tractor. Oh, it was very obvious there was a person sitting back there."

And the timing couldn't have been better—after realizing he'd been made, the teen had actually climbed underneath the trailer. He was reportedly "covered" in road grime and diesel fuel when the officer found him, and he was later sent to the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center as officials worked to track down his family. 

"He was very lucky he didn’t fall off between Kentucky and here," Buckly said. "I’ve heard stories of people hitching rides on trains, but never semis."

So it turns out those new shutters that close off the gap between the Tesla Semi and its trailers has a dual purpose—aerodynamics and security.