Land speed racer Jessi Combs, well known for her world speed records and appearing on Mythbusters, died after crashing while attempting to break her own record.
The 36-year-old was attempting to beat her record in the Alvord Desert in Oregon when she lost control of her vehicle, a report from Road and Track noted. Combs had set a four-wheeled vehicle record of 298 miles per hour in a jet-powered vehicle, earning her the nickname "fastest woman on four wheels," and was again attempting to beat her record when she crashed on a dry lake bed in Oregon's Harney County.
Her death was confirmed early on Wednesday by teammate Terry Madden, who remembered Jessi in an emotional Instagram post. Madden said that Combs was "the most amazing spirit that I have ever or will ever know," noting that he was the first person on the scene after her crash and had tried to save her.
Adam Savage, host of Mythbusters, also released a statement on Twitter remembering Combs.
"She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence," he wrote.
The crash was first reported by local new station KTVZ, which noted that the crash took place just after 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The report noted that the dried lake bed in the Alvord Desert has been a frequent location for those attempting to set land speed records. Kitty O'Neil set the women's land speed record there for a three-wheeled vehicle, reaching 512.7 miles per hour in a 1976 run. Combs held the record for a four-wheeled vehicle in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, a 56-foot-long vehicle powered by a jet engine reconfigured from an F-104.
As the Road and Track report noted, Combs gained quite a bit of fame for her land speed racing accomplishments and eventually became a television star as well."Combs was a legend in the automotive world. Trained in fabrication and hot-rod building at WyoTech, she soon made her way to automotive television," the report noted. "Combs was a host, builder, and technical expert on shows like Xtreme 4x4, Overhaulin', Truck U, and Two Guys Garage. She brought about Velocity channel's All Girls Garage, and was a host and builder on a season of Discovery channel's Mythbusters." The crash that claimed the life of Jessi Combs is under investigation by the local sheriff's department and Bureau of Land Management.