In 1999, Jacqui Saburido survived in a fiery car wreck that left two others dead. The man who caused the accident was sentenced to 7 years in prison for the crime, and Saburido had to undergo several surgeries after the horrific accident.
Her face was horribly disfigured, a sobering reminder of the dangers that drunk drivers cause.
But today, the vocal advocate of anti-drunk driving is dead. She was only 40, and she died from cancer in Guatemala. She was featured into the “Faces of Drunk Driving” campaign, whose aim is to reduce incidences of drunk driving.
At the time she met with the ghastly accident, she was getting home from a birthday party with four friends but their car got into a head-on collision with a drunk driver who got into their lane.
Over 60% of Saburido’s body suffered from third-degree burns when the car caught fire. Two of her friends were not as lucky, as they lost their lives immediately the accident occurred.
But what followed was not an easy journey. The twenty-year-old would begin a trying life of health complications that included 100 surgeries to her severely burned face and hands. She spent more than $5 million on medical costs.
She had even been in the United States for a month when the accident happened.
Reggie Stephey was released in 2008 after seven years in prison for two counts of intoxication manslaughter.
Although she was extensively disfigured after the accident, Saburido went on to become a proud advocate of anti-drunk driving for the Texas Department of Transportation.
She appeared twice on Oprah Winfrey’s show and made several unforgettable school appearances.
In her own words, she would continue being in this line of advocacy for as long as she could, even if it meant sitting in front of a camera without ears, nose, eyebrows or hair.
Regarding the advocacy work she was doing, she said; “this is part of my mission here on earth.” As long as her disfigured face and body could help someone, she was ready to help.