31 December 2012

On New Year's Eve, remember Jacqueline Saburido

Early on Sunday morning September 19, 1999, Jacqui - then 20 years old - and four friends were on their way home from a birthday party. Reggie Stephey, an 18-year-old high school student, was on his way home from drinking beer with some buddies. On a dark road on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Reggie's SUV veered into the Oldsmobile carrying Jacqui and the others. Two passengers in the car were killed at the scene and two were rescued.

Within minutes, the car caught fire. Jacqui was pinned in the front seat on the passenger side. She was burned over 60% of her body; no one thought she could survive. But Jacqui lived. Her hands were so badly burned that all of her fingers had to be amputated. She lost her hair, her ears, her nose, her left eyelid and much of her vision. She has had more than 50 operations since the crash and has many more to go.
More photos here.


(Reposted - yet again - because the message is still relevant.)


  1. Thanks for posting this reminder. I saw Jacqui in person at an Oprah taping about 3 years ago and was in tears. I still break into tears everytime I see her story. She is an amazingly beautiful woman inside and out. I have utmost respect for her and the courage she has to be an advocate against drunk driving. - Katya , Chicago, IL

  2. I'm soo sad for Jacqui, in the same time I'm happy that I'm a Muslim in an Arabic Muslim country "Qatar" doesn't allow people to have alcohol at all, based on our Islamic religion and Arabian tradition, I'm 29 years old and never heard about such accident, and I hope Jacqui to survive not only in her look, but must be an advocate against drunk driving.
    -Ghassan, Doha, Qatar

  3. Bader -

    I'm thrilled that you are 29 years old and have never heard of a drunk driving accident. That is definitely a great thing.

    However, it is very well known that in certain Muslim countries, numerous women wind up looking like Jacqui from having acid thrown in their face or having kerosene or other substance thrown over them just before a match is thrown on their clothing - all because their husband or father believed they are no longer "pure" or they have become "too Western," whatever that means. Their suffering is heart-wrenching - every bit as devastating as what happened to Jacqui.

    Sin, lack of responsibility, and tragedy happen in all cultures and religions, sometimes in very different ways. It would be utterly ridiculous for me to say "I'm glad I'm Christian and live in America because we don't tolerate men throwing acid in a woman's face" or what have you because a clear-eyed look at our culture shows our flaws.

    I think that is true of every culture and religion.

  4. I've read Jacqui's story and my heart is always so sad when I see her. When reading of face transplants happening, I've often wondered if she could be helped in such a way.

    What a brave, beautiful soul she is.

  5. It breaks the heart to see this, people are dumb, cruel and stupid. The universe is crueler, we all march towards entropy.

  6. I would kill myself if this happened to me.

  7. Holy bajesus. Beyond sobering.
    Time to get rid of the automobile system itself.
    Only 30% of the lethal wrecks are alcohol related. Steel and glass capsules hurtling past each other at 100 mph. A small flip of the wrist or lapse of concentration and her catastrophe is the result!

    This plague of cars is going to kill all of us eventually. Fighting over the fuel, blacktopping over the landscape, burning the ozone, melting the glaciers, etc. are all caused by these effing cars. Then when the accident happens, we look for someone to blame. It's his fault: he twitched! Or, she was too old! Or, his reflexes sucked! Fell asleep! Dumb sommabitch just shot off the road into a tree, twinked on Ambien!
    Carve a car on mankind's tombstone.

  8. My father was killed in 1975 by a drunk driver. I was 14 years old. Thank goodness the drunk driver did not kill anyone else. He flipped the car and only killed himself.

  9. N. Normal -- What transportation system do you recommend as a replacement of the automobile system?

  10. You should probably post her website, she has one now.

    She's 32 now.


  11. Anon, her website is linked in the post.

  12. I sympathize with Jacqui, but don't think this blog is the place for shock photos. Most commenters sound smart enough to trust statistics and numbers; we don't need to be shocked into compliance. Just my $0.02.

  13. Easy one, anonymous.

    Mag-lev vacuum tubes. Just like at the bank. Need shoes? Ziiip. Right to your room. Too small? Ziiiip. Right back. Pizza, broccoli sprouts, apples - ziiiip. Yeah! On it! Need to go to Cleveland? Punch in the coordinates and ziiiiiiiiiip! Off you go. GET RID OF THIS CAR PLAGUE please....Here, this might do it...
    Maybe somebody could talk this Kim Jong Un into starting it up in North Korea - a clean slate there for infrastructure.
    Yeah, somebody probably would fill one with ammonium nitrate or ricin and send it off, and we'd find out there's no sure solution. But I for one am sick of cars.

  14. Hardly easy, N. Normal

    Maglev vacuum tubes would require extensive tunneling and construction of the tubes. Not currently tenable as a replacement for cars for the existing world's population.

  15. Hmmm, hidden link.

    Ok, technically you are correct. :)

  16. why are they called accidents when there is a reason, stupidity, that they happen?

    I feel for Jacqui.. but I also feel sorry for the idiot who has to live with the fact that he killed someone and hurt someone else every day for the rest of his life.

    No sympathy, mind you. You reap what you sew.

  17. I think he should have been sentenced to death or lufe sentence with a larger fine. Maybe then people will take it seriously like how it ought to be...

  18. Thank you for posting. You are my first persona blogger and still among my favourite.


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