WWII Tank Crushes Man at Jelly Belly Chief's Home

Herman Rowland's son-in-law had permission to drive tank
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2015 8:19 AM CDT
WWII Tank Crushes Man at Jelly Belly Chief's Reunion
In this July 2, 2015, picture a World War II-era Panther tank is prepared for transportation from a residential property in Heikendorf, northern Germany.   (Carsten Rehder/dpa via AP)

A 54-year-old man was killed after being run over by a World War II-era tank over the weekend, but he wasn't on any kind of battlefield. Kevin Wright was attending a family reunion at the Fairfield, Calif., home of Jelly Belly Chairman Herman Rowland Sr. on Saturday when he was crushed by the 1944 M5 tank driven by Rowland's son-in-law, 62-year-old Dwayne Brasher, the Los Angeles Times reports. (Brasher is married to Rowland's daughter, Lisa Rowland Brasher, the candymaking company's CEO.) The California Highway Patrol says Brasher, who had been given permission to give people rides on the tank, was navigating the tank down a dirt hill when Wright, who was riding in the tank, lost his balance and fell into the tank's path, per CBS SF Bay Area.

CBS notes there were about 50 people at the family reunion thrown by Rowland, who happens to be an avid collector of military vehicles, squirreling them away in a restoration venue he calls the "Tank Barn," Fox News reports. Drugs and alcohol don't appear to have played a part in the incident, and Rowland says family members are cooperating with authorities, the Times notes. "Our family is grieving over this tragic loss," Rowland said in a statement, per CBS. "The gentleman involved in this accident was a passionate person, always ready to lend a hand, and we shared the same deep-rooted love of history. To have him die so tragically during our family reunion is impossible to comprehend." (A WWII "Panther" tank was hidden away in an elderly man's cellar.)

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