|On September 19,
1999 a young
woman was driving home from a birthday party when she was struck by an
18 year old High School student, Reggie Stephy who had been out
beer with his buddies. That woman is know by the name Jacqueline
Jacqueline was in a car with some friends when their vehicle was struck
by Reggie's. Jacqueline was pinned in the passenger seat in the front
the vehicle. Within a few minutes the car caught fire and Jacqueline
burned on over 60% of her body. Jacqueline, who is from Venezuela, came
to the United States to study English.
Two of Jacquelines friends,
Laura Guerrero and Natalia Chpytchak Bennett were killed in this
Jacquelines's hands were so badly burned that she lost the use of them.
She also lost her hair, her left eyelid along with much of her vision,
her nose and both of her ears. Jacqueline has been through more than 40
operations and is not done yet.
Jacqueline and her father
now live in Kentucky where she undergoes skin grafts and specialists
working to rebuild her right hand. She has also been able to
To find out how you can
Jacqueline click here:
Jacqueline has very
lent her story to the state of Texas to be used in a state wide
against drunk driving.
How could ANYONE make
it out of this alive?
It is Jacqueline's hope
her story will deter people from drinking and driving. The campaign
television and printed public service announcements.
At the trial, Jacqueline
curious about Reggie and when she saw him she thought he was handsome.
She said she felt sorry for him wondering if he would ever be able to
to college, though she felt he should be held accountable for what he
In her words "I wish there was
something between guilt and innocence".
Reggie had asked the jury for probation so that he could educate young
people on the dangers of drinking and driving.
While the jury deliberated,
Jacqueline, her family and friends, agreed to meet with Reggie in
a conference room. There she told him that she didn't hate him but he
to relize that he made a big mistake. She also told him that she
forgives him. Reggie apologized to them all and he hugged each of them,
including Jacqueline though she says it was very light, she thought
he felt she would break.
In June of 2001, on his
birthday, Reggie was found guilty of two counts of intoxication
His sentence is to serve seven years in prison and pay a $20,000. fine.
To this day, Reggie has never been able to forgive himself for drinking
and getting behind the wheel of his vehicle.
In 2005, Reggie was up for
parole and while Jacqueline said she had no problem with him being
the families of the people who were killed in the accident wanted him
spend every minute of his sentence, behind bars, he was denied parole
that time. Reggie said that he wants to make something of his life:
“I am not going to lay
down and let this consume my
life. I am going
to make something productive and something positive out of it. There’s
too much potential to waste in all the lives involved.”
Reggie said that he would
go to work when he got out, so that he could go to college. He said
he thinks about his victims all the time:
“I know that the
of my actions as a young man, will forever affect five lives, six
Reggie was released from
prison, after serving his seven years, on June 24, 2008.
Reggie had spent most of
time in prison at the Luther Unit near the town of Mavasota. He was
classes to earn his associate's degree and was later transferred to the
Ramsey 1 unit in Rosharon, which is south of Houston. The transfer
him to further his education.
During his time in prison,
Reggie had no problems and no disciplinary reports at all.
As of todays date,
2009, I have been unable to find any updates about Jacqueline other
she was hoping to some day return to her home in Venesula. I hope that
she was able to do just that.