Tank Kills One at Home of Jelly Belly Magnate

The Jelly Belly chief's collection of military equipment includes a cannon that fires candy.
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The Jelly Belly chief's collection of military equipment includes a cannon that fires candy.
M5 Tank

A family gathering at the home of Jelly Belly Candy Co. board chair Herman Rowland Sr. turned tragic Saturday. The Fairfield-Suisun Daily Republic reports Kevin Wright died while riding a World War II-era M5 tank.

The tank, driven by Dwayne Brasher, hit a bump, reports the Daily Republic, and according to Reuters, Wright "lost his balance and fell in front of the vehicle as it traveled down a hill."

Herman Rowland owns a large collection of military equipment, including a cannon modified to fire candy. Speaking to the Daily Republic about his love for the machines in early 2015, Rowland indicated he maintained the collection — called "American Freedom Military Vehicle Collection" and housed in his "Tank Barn" — to educate others about the US military and because he has "a great desire to teach why we are free."

Reuters reports Brasher, 62, is Herman Rowland's son-in-law. Brasher is married to Rowland's daughter, Jelly Belly CEO Lisa Rowland Brasher.

Wright's loved ones told Sacramento's Fox 40 that the 55-year-old friend of the Rowland family was the kind of man who was "always there for anyone in need."

The Fox affiliate also quoted a statement from the Rowland family, in which they said they were "grieving over this tragic loss." The statement described Wright as "a passionate person, always ready to lend a hand," who "shared the same deep rooted love of history." Wright's death during the reunion, said the Rowlands, "is impossible to comprehend."

Through a spokesperson the Rowland family told Reuters they would aid the 50 or so children and adults who attended the event in seeking counseling. Police indicated they do not believe alcohol or drugs played a part in the tragedy.

Photos by D. Miller/Flickr