Jacqui Saburido, who was known as the face of Texas’ anti-drunk driving campaign, passed away from cancer at the age of 40 in Guatemala City in 2019.
In 1999, Jacqui Saburido was involved in a horrific drunk-driving accident that nearly claimed her life. She miraculously survived but was left with disfiguring scars and burns all over her body, making it difficult for her family and friends to recognize her.
Saburido suffered severe third-degree burns covering approximately 60% of her body after an intoxicated 18-year-old named Reggie Stephey drove off the road, collided with her car, which burst into flames, causing her eyes to melt and resulting in the melting of her ears, lips, nose, eyelids, and hands.
Before the accident, Saburido had temporarily stopped her engineering studies and was enrolled in an English course at a small university in Austin.
Jacqui Saburido’s medical treatments totaled over $5 million, and she underwent over 100 surgeries on her body, while the driver who caused the accident, Reggie Stephey, was convicted of two counts of intoxication manslaughter and received a seven-year prison sentence before being released in 2008.
Saburido was a motivational speaker and an icon for the anti-drunk driving campaign in the US, and has even been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show in a segment titled “Chasing Hope.”
‘It’s one thing to preach about inner beauty; it’s quite another to live it,’ Winfrey adds.
Jacqui’s cousin, Jose Saburido, informed the Austin American-Statesman that she moved to Guatemala City from her home in Caracas, Venezuela, a few years ago and underwent various medical treatments for her illness and facial reconstruction surgery.
According to her cousin Jose, ‘She set a good example.’ Saburido’s body was be transported back to Venezuela.