On a Sunday morning in 1999, Jacqueline, age 20 at the time, was on her way home from a birthday party with four of her friends. Reggie Stephey, age 18 at the time, was on his way home from drinking beer. Reggie’s SUV crashed into Jacqueline’s Oldsmobile. Two of Jacqueline’s friends died at the scene. Within minutes, the Oldsmobile was engulfed in flames. Jacqueline was pinned inside. Over 60% of her body was severely burned. Nobody thought that Jacqui would live. But she did.
Jacqui lost her fingers, hair, ears, nose, left eyelid, and much of her vision. She has had more than 50 operations since the crash, and she has many more to go.
Reggie was convicted of two counts of intoxication manslaughter for the deaths of Jacqui’s two friends. He was released from prison last year after serving a full seven-year sentence.
Jacqui bravely allowed post-accident photos of herself to be used in media campaigns against drunk driving. She appeared on Oprah in 2003, and Oprah called her “a woman who defines survival.”
Amazingly, Jacqui has publicly forgiven Reggie, even though his drunk driving completely destroyed her life. Oprah said that Jacqui defines “inner beauty.” Jacqui’s story is humbling and inspiring, and it reminds us that drunk driving is a serious crime.
In 2005 alone, there were 16,885 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the United States; that’s an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes. In the same year, there were over 254,000 injuries from alcohol-related accidents; that’s an average of one every two minutes. In 2006, there were 604 alcohol-related highway fatalities in Georgia; this number accounts for nearly one-third of Georgia’s total fatalities.
One bad decision – drinking and driving just one time – can destroy a life. Please don’t drink and drive.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk driver, contact The Law Offices of Michael L. Neff as soon as possible. We must act quickly to investigate the accident and preserve evidence.
We aggressively pursue irresponsible drunk drivers and hold them accountable to the full extent of the law. As a victim, you can sue for negligence and punitive damages. You can punish the irresponsible behavior on the part of the drunk driver – and Jacqui Saburido would agree that you should punish such behavior. Too many innocent people have been victims of drunk drivers.
You may also be able to sue the liquor store, bar, or restaurant that served the drunk driver. For example, if a restaurant served someone who was obviously intoxicated, then you can also hold the restaurant accountable for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, call (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation with Michael Lawson Neff.