Jacqueline "Jacqui" Saburido (born December 20, 1978)
by marissa penny
(abilene, texas u.s)
this is what she looks like now.
On September 19, 1999, Saburido attended a birthday party near Austin, Texas. She and her friends, Laura Guerrero, Johan Daal and Johanna Gil, decided to head home after a few hours, and accepted a ride home from a classmate, Natalia Chpytchak-Bennett. At the same time, Reginald Stephey, an 18-year-old high school student, was on his way home after drinking beers with his friends at a party. On the outskirts of Austin, Stephey's 1996 GMC Yukon veered into Chpytchak-Bennett's 1990 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency.
Guerrero and Chpytchak-Bennett were killed instantly, while Gil and Daal suffered minor injuries. The car caught fire, and Saburido's feet were trapped under the seat, preventing her from escaping. Two paramedics, John McIntosh and Bryan Fitzpatrick, happened to be driving past when Stephey flagged them down. The flames were leaping several feet up into the air as they arrived. McIntosh put out the fire with his extinguisher and the two men set about removing everyone from the vehicle. However, Saburido was still trapped, and the fire restarted, forcing McIntosh and Fitzpatrick back. Saburido was inside the car for another 45 seconds until a fire truck arrived to put out the fire. Saburido was then cut from the car and airlifted to the burn unit in Galveston.
Saburido suffered second and third degree burns to over 60 percent of her body, but survived despite her doctor's expectations. All of her fingers had to be amputated, but there was enough bone left on her thumb to construct an opposable thumb. She lost her hair, ears, nose, lips, left eyelid and much of her vision. She has undergone more than 120 operations since the crash, including cornea transplants, which have restored her left eye.