West

California man dies after being run over by WWII tank on Jelly Belly chairman's estate

Authorities say a man was accidentally crushed to death by a World War II-era tank driven by the husband of Jelly Belly's chief executive over the weekend.

The California Highway Patrol told the Los Angeles Times that 54-year-old Kevin Wright, of Suisun City, Calif., was run over Saturday by a 1944 M5 tank that was being driven by 62-year-old Dwayne Brasher. Authorities said Brasher was driving the tank through an open field on property belonging to Jelly Belly chairman Herman Rowland Sr., while Wright was sitting on the front edge of the tank, facing inward. 

As the tank rolled down a dirt hill, police said Wright lost his balance and fell backward, landing directly in the path of the vehicle.

Herman Rowland, a fourth-generation candy maker, was hosting a family reunion at his estate in Fairfield, Calif. Saturday. Rowland is a keen collector of military vehicles and stores them in a restoration facility known as the "Tank Barn."

"Our family is grieving over this tragic loss," Herman Rowland said in a statement. "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. We are all still in a state of shock."

Rowland said his family is cooperating with the investigation. Authorities say that neither drugs nor alcohol appear to have been a factor in the death.

Dwayne Brasher is the husband of Herman Rowland's daughter, Lisa, who was named Jelly Belly chief executive in March, and reports to her father.

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