The Register-Guard of Oregon has posted a short article stating that the explosion that occurred in a M18 Hellcat Tank Destroyer in 2015 which killed two men is still unexplained. The M18, nicknamed “Rachel”, was owned by Steve Preston, who along with Austin Lee ws inside the vehicle when the explosion happened. Both men were killed.
PORTLAND — After a lengthy investigation, authorities still don’t know what caused a massive explosion that killed two men inside a vintage military tank.
A crew was filming the tank when the blast occurred last October near Bend, Oregon. Killed were 51-year-old Steven Preston and 22-year-old Austin Lee, both from Oregon City.
Preston was a military vehicle collector who owned the tank
Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Friday he consulted numerous experts in trying to decide whether the explosion was criminally negligent conduct or a tragic accident. He concluded that no crime was committed.
The Flying Heritage Collection museum in Everett, Washington, had commissioned a team to obtain slow-motion footage of the Hellcat tank firing projectiles. The footage was to be displayed at the museum.
Hummel said the operation was funded by the museum under the umbrella company Vulcan Productions, led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.