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Spokeswoman for Drunk Driving Awareness Campaigns Dies at Age 40

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In June 2001, Stephey was found guilty of two counts of intoxication manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in prison. Over the course of his trial, Jacqueline had asked to meet with him, and once she did, she told him she forgave him. He completed his sentence and was released in June 2008. During his prison time, he worked with Jacqueline on the very campaign she became synonymous with through TxDOT, filming PSAs and speaking at high schools.

Spokeswoman for Drunk Driving Awareness Campaigns Dies at Age 40

Photo: Facebook/Let’s End Drunk Driving, Texas (Over 1,000 flags represent the number of Texans killed each year to alcohol-related crashes).

Executive Director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Bentley Nettles told statesman.com, “Jacqui did not let the tragic circumstances of her accident diminish her, instead using her life story as a lesson on the importance of preventing drunken driving. We are eternally grateful for Jacqui’s bravery, her compassion and her drive to help others.” She was featured in global safety campaigns as a reminder of the grim consequences of driving under the influence. She made a second appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 2009 – a decade following the crash. Winfrey was quoted as saying that Jacqueline “helped shift our thinking about what it really means to be beautiful. It’s so easy for people to talk about inner beauty; it’s another thing to live it.”

Still, amongst the global fanfare, Jacqueline struggled with the memory and repercussions of that 1999 accident. According to statesman.com, in 2009 she said, “Emotionally, I haven’t been able to go forward. I’d like to be happy with myself, to accept myself how I am and be more independent.” But with respect to her integral part in the campaigns against drunk driving, she noted, “It’s an honor.” And she said that the message “has to be something that people always remember.” This has truly been something an entire generation won’t soon forget.

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