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’sPerry Como Show when shortlybefore 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