It happened on Lewisville Lake, Texas, 20 miles north of Dallas. Stephanie Booker and two friends, Sabra Scott and Kim Colvin, spent the day swimming and sailing on the lake. June 17, 1995 was a typical outing, until nightfall.
After a break for dinner, the three friends decided to take one last cruise on their boat. Near midnight, the young women headed back to the boat slip. They slowed down as they entered the no-wake zone where boaters are required to stay under five miles an hour. Then, a hundred yards away, a speedboat raced out of the darkness. Stephanie and her friends never had a chance as the speedboat plowed into them. Stephanie was severely injured:
"It was as if my mouth felt sewn shut. And so I had to brace myself with my hands to push my body up. And then I felt this terrible weight hanging off of my face, as if dough was hanging off of my face, and I reached up and realized that my face was in my hand."
The speed boat's propeller had slashed across Stephanie's face, literally slicing it from the bone. Kim Colvin came to the immediate aid of her injured friend:
"Her lips were detached from her face, I couldn't see any gums or teeth, there was skin hanging down from her eye. So I was seeing her exposed face, and I could tell she was having a hard time breathing."
On the other boat, a man and a young woman appeared at the driver's side. They stared. Neither said a word. According to Sabra Scott, her calls for help went unanswered:
"He stood there as if contemplating the pros and cons. I'm sure he thought he already killed someone. I remember one of the individuals making the other person to kind of, like, 'Be silent. Don't say anything.' So it was total silence with me yelling and screaming at them. They made no motions to say one word or make any actions to come to help us."
When the driver finally did do something, it was to save himself. He gunned his engine and took off.
Sabra got the boat started and headed for shore. Kim turned her attention back to Stephanie:
"I'm thinking to myself that Stephanie's going to quit breathing any minute now. I can't give her mouth-to-mouth, 'cause I'm afraid if I put any pressure, it'll cave in any facial structure she has, and also, I didn't think there was an airway big enough to get any air in her."
Stephanie was rushed to surgery. Meanwhile, police began looking for the driver of the speed boat or anyone who might have seen him. Weldon Lucas was a Sheriff of Denton County, Texas, at the time of the accident:
"Right after the accident, we have two witnesses that were there. They heard the screaming. They heard the noise coming from the accident. And then about 15 or 20 seconds after that, they saw a boat fitting this description just come hauling butt."
Five minutes later, another eyewitness saw two people load the same boat onto a trailer towed by a white 4x4 pickup truck. Without even bothering to tie down the boat, they sped off into the night. They remain unidentified. The community was outraged. Local businesses raised reward money. Meanwhile, it took 12 reconstructive surgeries to rebuild Stephanie's internal facial structure:
"I'm not able to breathe very well. I'm not able to smell as well, nor can I taste the way I used to be able to. And my teeth that I have are very much for aesthetics, for looks. Memory, concentration skills, the ability to do more than one task at a time, all the things that I used to do and take for granted are gone. And I walk by a mirror after I've had one of my many surgeries and look at myself and just wonder: why did someone do this? Why did they not come forward? Why don't they care?"
However, one person did seem to care. According to Sheriff Lucas, police have heard from the same anonymous caller three times:
"He stated emphatically that he knew who it was, that he was going to talk to the person and try to get him to turn himself in. From just the tone of his voice and the way he was talking, we think that he does know who it is, and we would like for him to at least contact us."
The suspects were driving a 25 to 30 foot-long Miami Vice style speedboat painted white with teal green markings. The driver of the speedboat was a stocky, clean-shaven white male with light hair. His companion was an athletic-looking woman with very long dark hair. They drove a white 4x4 pickup.
Although her wounds have since healed, for Stephanie Booker, she will never fully recover until the man who nearly killed her is brought to justice.