The 2022 Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship received many remarkable essays from students whose lives have been seriously impacted by an auto accident. Essays came from across the country with students sharing how they have been personally and significantly affected by an accident and how they have overcome the struggles associated with the accident. 

Because of the number of inspiring essays we received, Derrick Law Firm Injury Lawyers has selected two winners for the 2022 scholarship. The winner below gave Derrick Law Firm Injury Lawyers permission to share her story. 

Read our 2022 Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship Winner, Marlee Saul's story below:

"I laid my forehead against the cool glass of the car window, watching the drizzle form little streams of cold November rain and enjoying the playlist I created for nights like this. I'd never felt more peaceful and content than in that moment. Then, I was hit by a truck. For what felt like an eternity, there was nothing but a silence and darkness so consuming that I had lost all recollection of my life before that moment. The deafening noise from the Jaws of Life and the blurred blue and red lights in the distance startled me back to consciousness. The glass of the window that gently caressed my skin moments before, was now burrowed into it, slice by painful slice. From an outsider's point of view, the 8 broken bones, 2 brain bleeds, and stretched ligaments in my neck were the extent of my injuries from the accident, but I was also battling the effects of a traumatic brain injury. With determination and hard work, I was out of my wheelchair and walking at almost complete physical recovery in less than 4 months. Focus on my mental health was critical for recovery and it instilled practices that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. smiling young girl cap gown

I’ve always been interested in the medical field and through my accident and recovery process, I was able to see numerous health care careers. The field that stood out to me the most was psychiatry. Because of the physical trauma I endured, I was able to receive the help and coping strategies I needed from therapists and a trauma counselor quickly, but many people in dire need of professional help are put on waiting lists for months. In the aftermath of Covid-19, mental health professionals are needed now more than ever, and I want to explore career options and be a part of the solution. 

Before the pandemic and my accident, I founded and became president of an organization to get youth more involved in the community and most of all, the elderly. We can provide companionship and comfort while they fill us with a sense of purpose. My group went to nursing homes monthly with activities to do together and we built bonds with these amazing people. I had a renewed determination after my accident, but the pandemic made volunteering in person more difficult, so we shifted to projects of care packages and cards. During my hospital stay, I learned just how much a card can mean when you are all alone with no one to visit you. 

I decided to compete in the USA Ambassador organization to give myself a bigger platform to use my voice and support this cause. I went on to win the national title of USA Ambassador Jr Teen, and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. I now have a national platform and have traveled around the country to get my message out. I will do my best to make the most of that platform and make a difference in the world.

After all that I have been through, I’ve discovered my passion for psychology and helping others. This accident will always have an effect on my life, but I plan to use it as a way to help others and make the world a better place. It has been nearly a year since the accident, and if you turn to November in my shiny black planner and look at the 29th, you will see a note scribbled in teal, “Don’t get hit by a truck.”"

For more information about the Dirk Derrick Car & Truck Accident Injury Scholarship, please see

Dirk J. Derrick
Connect with me
South Carolina Lawyer Dirk Derrick helps victims recover from car accidents, personal injury & wrongful death.