August 28, 2019 2:01 pm
Updated: August 29, 2019 11:06 am

Jessi Combs, ‘fastest woman on 4 wheels,’ dies in land-speed record attempt

Professional racer and TV personality Jessi Combs died at the age of 39 while attempting to beat her own land-speed record in a jet car, her racing team says.

A A

Professional racer and TV personality Jessi Combs died at the age of 39 while attempting to beat her own land-speed record in a jet car, her racing team says.

The Harney County Sheriff’s Office says a jet-powered vehicle was involved in a fatal crash Tuesday afternoon in the Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon, local station KTVZ reports. The sheriff’s office did not release the name of the victim.

Jessi Combs’ team member Terry Madden announced her death in an Instagram video post on Wednesday. The video showed dozens of photos and clips of Madden with Combs on vacation and preparing for races.

“We lost her yesterday in a horrific accident,” Madden wrote in the Instagram post. “I was the first one there, and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!”

View this post on Instagram

So I don’t know how to say any of this but it all needs said. I have never loved or been loved by anyone as much as this amazing woman @thejessicombs she was truly my unicorn and I enjoyed every single minute that I had with her. She was the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know. Unfortunately we lost her yesterday in a horrific accident, I was the first one there and trust me we did everything humanly possible to save her!! I’m not ok, but she is right here keeping my going-I made her a promise that if this didn’t go well that I would make sure and do good with it, please help me with that, you are all going to see things on news please believe non of them.. we the family have drafted a release and it will come out today with more proper info, but I was just woke up by the media tracking me down and I need everyone of her true friends to do what she would want “take a deep breath, relax” and do good things with this. Please donate to nothing, I know there will be people try, we are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. In the coming days her family and I will get the proper channels put together that you can then donate to that foundation but until you hear it from me wait please-I don’t want some asshole profiting off this (all ready had one try to sell us a video)… . . Love you all and thank you all for being such amazing friends to her, she dedicated her life to helping support others dreams and I promise I will continue that. #doitforjessi #myjessi

A post shared by Terry L. Madden (@terry_madden) on

He added that she was filming a documentary at the time.

“Please donate to nothing,” he wrote. “We are finishing the documentary as she wished and the world will know the truth and her foundation will use those funds to do amazing things in this world and make her legacy live on properly. ”

Her Landspeed team’s website paid tribute to her death with a memorial landing page on Wednesday.

“Jessi Combs,” the message read. “July 27, 1980 – August 27, 2019.”

READ MORE: Man jailed after trying to fix flat tires with band-aids in California

Combs became known as the “fastest woman on four wheels” in 2013, after hitting a top speed of 597 kilometres per hour in a jet-propelled car in the Alvord Desert. She set the record in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, a car equipped with a 52,000- horsepower engine.

Combs was attempting to break her own record with the same vehicle on Tuesday, according to a statement her family provided to Jalopnik, an automotive news site.

“Jessi was known for her bright smile, positivity and tenacious pursuit of the fulfillment of her dreams,” her family said in the statement. “Surrounded by her family and friends at the time of her passing, Jessi lived fearlessly and her legacy lives on in the countless lives she touched.”

Jessi Combs is shown in this file photo from Aug. 28, 2018.

Jessi Combs/Facebook

Combs’ death has shocked the automotive racing world, where she was well-known as a racer, builder, fabricator and TV personality. Combs has appeared in several television series including MythBusters, Xtreme 4×4 and All Girls Garage.

“I am so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a car crash,” former MythBusters co-host Adam Savage tweeted on Wednesday. “She was a brilliant and top-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator and science communicator, and strove every day to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.”

One of Combs’ last social media posts shows the back of her jet car in the Alvord Desert on Aug. 24.

“It may seem a little crazy to walk directly into the line of fire,” she wrote. “Those who are willing, are those who achieve great things.

“People say I’m crazy. I say thank you.”

Combs told the Associated Press last year that she was eager to race again in Oregon.

“We could probably set a record still at Alvord Desert but there is absolutely no room for error,” Combs told AP in January 2018.

“We are trying to bring racing and land speed racing back to the public eye,” she said at the time. “If we could somehow make it sexy again that would be amazing.”

NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that Combs was 39, not 36.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.