The Carroll County Accident

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"The Carroll County Accident"
Single by Porter Wagoner
from the album The Carroll County Accident
B-side "Sorrow Overtakes the Wine"[1]
Released October 1968
Format 7" single
Recorded September 18, 1968[2]
Genre Country
Length 2:48
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Bob Ferguson
Producer(s) Bob Ferguson
Porter Wagoner singles chronology
"Jeannie's Afraid of the Dark"
(with Dolly Parton)
"The Carroll County Accident"
"Yours Love"
(with Dolly Parton)

"The Carroll County Accident" is a 1968 country song written by Bob Ferguson, and recorded by Porter Wagoner. It was a hit for Wagoner and became one of his signature songs. The Carroll County Accident won CMA's Song of the Year in 1969.[3]


In the song, the singer tells the story of a single-car accident that occurs just inside the county line near his hometown. The passenger, Walter Browning, an upstanding member of the community and seemingly happily married man, dies; while the driver, Mary Ellen Jones, a woman not his wife but also well respected, survives to testify that she was taking him to town on an errand of mercy.

The singer describes his examining the wreckage and finding evidence of an extramarital affair between the two. He promptly disposes of the evidence and swears himself to silence. He does this in order to preserve their reputations in the county because, as he reveals in the last verse, Walter Browning had been his father.

The song reached number 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs and number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1]


Wagoner's frequent musical collaborator Dolly Parton covered "The Carroll Country Accident" in 1969, including it on her In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad) album.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 92
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 80
Preceded by
"I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am"
by Merle Haggard
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

February 3-February 17, 1969
Succeeded by
"Mr. Brown"
by Gary Buck


  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. pp. 441–442. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ The Essential Porter Wagoner (CD insert). Porter Wagoner. RCA Records. 1997. 66934-2. 
  3. ^ "CMT : CMA Awards : Archives : 1969".