The Hardway

by J Raleigh Jones


The Carroll Miller Story

June 10, 2019

On his way home while driving on Main Street in Lebanon, TN  Carrol had a heart attack and died the first time. Witnesses say It caused his truck  to speed up to 70 miles per hour, run off the road and hit a ditch. The truck landed on its wheels, it kept going 5 to 6 yards, and hit a parked tractor trailer truck. Witnesses also reported that Carroll was thrown through the windshield and then back into the truck. The truck went into reverse, the driver's side door flew open, and Carroll fell out of the door. His leg caught on the seat belt and he was dragged through a yard with his head bouncing off of the turf.  The truck flipped over on top of him.  Bystanders performed CPR on Carroll and revived him. A tow truck lifted Carroll's truck off of him and at that point, Carroll died the second time. This time though, he felt himself surrounded by GOD and GOD said to him "You are not finished yet". He was dead when he arrived at the hospital and revived again.

Carroll was taken into surgery. He had a right hip replacements  and a rod  inserted down his right femur bone with 16 screws. He had 9 broken ribs and a crushed heart. Carroll was in a coma for 1 1/2 months.    His brain was still swollen when he came out of the coma, and because of that, he was out of his mind.  Carroll was confined to a wheel chair and tried several times to escape the hospital. One time he made it a block and a half before being found. Since he was an escape risk, volunteers stood guard around the clock to foil any further escape attempt.


Eventually the swelling went down in his brain and he became very happy, that is until depression set in. He was told he would never walk again. He did a lot of praying and trying to cope with his situation. He refused to give up. He asked for but was refused physical therapy. The physical therapy room was some distance from Carroll's room and it was kept locked. Carroll said that he felt GOD showed him a way..  

Carroll found a plastic spoon which he thought he could use to get the door open to the physical therapy room. So he sneaked into the room when it was closed. The first time there he tried to use the equipment he managed to get on a pedal operated leg excersize machine and was able to give it one half of a turn. This encouraged him. He decided he was going to walk again and kept sneaking in to the room until one day, he was caught.   The hospital staff decided at that point they would give him therapy.


Much has happened since that day, and sure enough Carroll is walking, albiet he isn't walking  normal yet. When I interviewed him for this article we met at a Govan's Coffee Shop in Gallatin TN. It was not far from where he lived, but he could park right in front of the Coffee shop. The  coffee shop was closed on that Monday so we sat out side with the traffic noise in the background. Carroll told me his story. It is so difficult for him to relive that terrible day. But he wanted to share with us  what GOD has done for him. He prays a lot and he still has so much depression, however he still toils  to get some part of his life back in spite of it all. When we got up from the table to leave, he had to steady himself against the building wall as he walked the few steps on the sidewalk and then to his truck.

Carroll was telling me how much his girlfriend and best friend has helped him since he came home from the hospital.  With her abundance  of understanding and her unwavering care for him Chere Lambert  has stood by Carroll's side with the truest of devotion.    Another very special person who has been there for him is Sherry Buttry Jenkins, Kenny Buttry's widow.   Sherry took Carroll to be baptized and out for many meals. Carroll has been so thankful for the close friends who have helped him in this difficult time. A true friend who is in close contact daily  for support and care is Gospel artist Chris Golden. Chris is a very successful Gospel artist with several number 1 Gospel records and a lifetime musical career. He is the son of William Lee Golden of the OakRidge Boys.


Sometimes there  are no words to express what friendship like this means to someone, and no truer statement can be made than in this case. Carroll is still searching for the reason that GOD kept him alive. Perhaps that reason is to share his story of what GOD has done in his life with us. Carroll has  endured 5 heart surgeries and 5 brain surgeries  in addition to a multitude of other surgeries.

The life Carroll left behind was one of success. He was working with stars and Television networks such as CBS. Names you might be familiar with are Sony, Buddy Killen Enterprises and Entertainment Tonight and many others. There were many  major acts Carroll worked with but these days it is a bit of a struggle for him to remember things.  He has worked with  Norbert Putnam,  a close friend. Norbert was a million seller producer who was also a part of the original Muscle Shoals rhythm section. He produced and helped establish artists like Jimmy Buffet, Joan Baez Dan Fogelberg, Brewer and Shipley, Donovan, John Hiat, and so many more. Norbert is pictured below wih Carrol.


Also pictured below is Tom Pick with Carroll. Tom is  another very successful producer friend. He  was RCA's chief engineer for over 15 years until the studio closed. Tom then worked for several successful major artists at some of the best studios of that time. By 2012 Tom had 8 Grammy Awards and many Gold and Platinum records to his credit. Carroll worked with Tom on many recordings including the Jordanaires. Carroll has had as many as 7 recording studios  of his own and has recorded and produced many stars and independant artists prior to his accident. He is a singer-songwriter, musician and performer. That is what he loves to do, and is performing a few shows now in Gallatin TN. Carroll struggles with his memory, depression, and mobility, but he is a survivor. He endured a lot to share this with us because to him,  "The most important thing is GOD in my story...I'm not finished yet"

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