After playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia on March 21, 1956, the
Perkins Brothers Band headed to New York City for a March 24
appearance on NBC-TV’s Perry Como Show when shortly before
sunrise on March 22 their car hit the back of a pickup truck and
went into a ditch with water about a foot deep, and Perkins was
lying face down in the water. Drummer Holland rolled Perkins over,
saving him from drowning.
Perkins had suffered three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe
concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body
in the crash. Perkins remained unconscious for an entire day. The
driver of the pickup truck, Thomas Phillips, a 40-year old farmer,
died. Carl’s brother Jay had a fractured neck along with severe
internal injuries, later dying from these complications.
Carl Perkins finally appeared on The Perry Como Show on Saturday
May 26th 1956