Dwayne Brasher, the 62-year-old husband of Jelly Belly CEO Lisa Brasher, was driving the tank down a dirt road at a family reunion in August 2015, when Kevin Wright, 54, fell off the tanker and into its path. The tanker belonged to Lisa Brasher’s father, Herman Rowland Sr., who is chairman of the board at the Jelly Belly Candy Company. Rowland restores old military vehicles and keeps them in a personal showroom in Fairfield, Calif., where the family reunion was being held.
According to KXTV, Mr Brasher was driving the tank and offering rides as part of a reunion party’s festivities when it hit a mound of dirt while going downhill.
The New York Daily News reports Mr Brasher requested Mr Wright’s presence in the tank as he had never driven one unsupervised before
Employee Wright, who was specially called in to help with the event was riding in the tank and lost his balance. He was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
‘If people had been careful, it wouldn’t have happened,’ attorney Peter Alfert, who is representing the Wright family, told NBC News on Tuesday.
‘Defendant Brasher should not have driven the tank, under the circumstances where Kevin Wright was at risk from falling out of the tank,’ according to the suit.
Brasher ‘negligently navigated the tank to unsafe and dangerous conditions which resulted in the violent bucking of the tank and knocked Kevin Wright off the tank, resulting in his death.’
Wright is dearly missed by his family. He had two children ages 22 and 24 and also was taking care of his 80-year-old father. His wife tragically died in 2009.
They had a close relationship with their father,’ Alfert said, ‘and at that point, he was their only surviving parent.’
The defendants have not yet responded to the lawsuit but they have 30 days to do so.
Herman Rowland is the patriarch of the family-owned Jelly Belly Candy Co. Ltd, which sells nearly $200 million in jelly beans and other confections every year.
He’s also a big fan of the instruments of war, especially relics of World War II and is such an avid a fan that he keeps a mechanic on hand at his Fairfield, California, property to maintain and restore his fleet of antique military vehicles.
‘The Tank Barn,’ as the millionaire lovingly calls it, houses a fleet he’s tentatively dubbed the American Freedom Military Vehicle Collection, reports the Daily Republic.
Rowland says he wants his collection of vehicles from the ‘arsenal of democracy’ to teach people the meaning of freedom.
‘It is an aspect of why we are free,’ he said back in January. ‘I have a great desire to teach why we are free.’